A watched kettle, they say, never boils which is another way of saying that the longer we wait for something the longer it seems to take in coming. Twenty minutes waiting for a bus can seem like twenty hours. Weeks waiting for a hospital appointment or for news concerning the outcome of a treatment can seem an eternity. Likewise, if we’re eagerly looking forward to something, time can seem to pass frustrating slowly. I remember when I was at school and it was a particular child’s birthday, he came to me and said, ‘it’s thirty days until my birthday’ and there was a daily countdown until the birthday arrived, with the child getting more and more excited by the day.
Advent is a time of waiting, waiting for the birth of the Christ child but also about waiting for the second coming. Advent causes us to look back to the birth of Jesus Christ, not just his birth in Bethlehem, but the promises of God made long before to Abraham and his people across the ages. It looks forward to his coming again, that day when he will return in glory to establish his kingdom and reign victorious.
In the light of these perspectives, advent urges us to reflect on the present moment, to examine the life that we are living, and then to ask the question – have we received the joy that Christ offers and are we ready to welcome him should he return here and now.
What is advent saying to you about your past, your present and your future? Our time of waiting for Christmas is not a case of crossing of the days on our Advent calendar (or eating the chocolates depending on the type of Advent calendar you have) but a time of waiting and preparing for the joy of the birth of the Christ child at Christmas.