Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Advent themes: arrivals and departures

God could show up any minute

Whilst John the Baptist is centre stage doing his dramatic prophetic stuff at the heart of the gospel reading set for the Third Sunday in Advent, the text shown above is right at the back of the lectionary crowd, jumping up and down and trying really hard to be noticed. In the translation from ‘The Message’ these two verses really sparkle and fizz with excitement, and when put alongside the gospel text they give an alternative and complementary take on what John was up to in the desert. Revelling in God is a wonderfully apt challenge for Advent. To me it speaks of celebrating what we know about God’s love at work in the world with the full and strong expectation that God will arrive as God always does, brim full of creative intention for the present moment and always calling us to depart still deeper into the mystery, marvel and demands of following Jesus.

The theme of arrivals and departures conveys the dynamic restlessness of divine purpose. Staying put is not an option. Remaining in the comfort zone is not an option. Being disconnected from issues of justice and peace is not an option. Being an authentic disciple means journeying and moving in openness to God Spirit, and it therefore means engaging with others on the Way as agents of God’s love. I think this is exactly what  hope and expectation in Advent is all about. Such Christmas Presence, when unwrapped, will no doubt be surprising and well worth the wait, because what else has the potential to transform our lives and remake the world?


  1. i would appreciate your advice on how to present this CHRISTmas Presence to my unbeliever friends and loved ones. i do it through my blog(s), i email commentaries from others to them, i share GOD when appropriate with my family, but it seems i am causing them more resistance with my efforts. JESUS is indeed the ultimate Present anytime, all the time, which i want to share with all. But i don't want to add to their stubborn refusal to even examine the Truth...or their attitudes towards the Truth of CHRIST.

  2. Perhaps the best way is for us to try to emulate Jesus own approach with people, which seems to me to have been focussed on being personally present as God's love to them in the particularities of their context. The offering of grace and unconditional regard in our relationships with others, and the giving of good time and attention to them, can unlock a more receptive attitude sometimes. Just a thought in response to a good question rln!