Waiting on Christ
In the midst of the busy run-up to Christmas, Suzanne Cooke is suggesting that we pause and take time to contemplate the One whose coming we celebrate.
Advent [meaning “coming”], to the Church Fathers, was the right naming of the season when light and life are fading. They urged the faithful to set aside four weeks to fast, give, and pray—all ways to strip down, to let the bared soul recall what it knows beneath its fear of the dark, to know what Jesus called “the one thing necessary”: that there is One who is the source of all life, One who comes to be with us and in us, even, especially, in darkness and death. One who brings a new beginning. — Taken from Gayle Boss, All Creation Waits: The Advent Mystery of New Beginnings (Paraclete Press: 2016)
I’m sure many of us have said or thought it many times, but for those of us who believe in Jesus Christ, this time of year is almost a time of resigned irritation.
Every year, I hope we give ourselves time to think about the place of Advent in our lives. A place that I believe is emphasised in the spirit of the words above. Words that remind us of the depth and possibility of the season we move towards – a busy season, yes, but also a time - a moment - and an opportunity.
Right now, we have an opportunity to embrace the dark days – even in our, maybe extreme, busyness.
And in that busyness to embrace the chance to move inwards;
Take time to examine our inner selves;
Time to think about the motivation that draws us towards God and Christ;
The motivation that we call Christian belief;
The belief that maybe fills our hearts and souls, our lives, in ways that modern living, everyday lives, never could or can.
This is our chance.
This is our chance to sit in the quiet of the darkness and ask ourselves who it is we think we are being called to be; called to be by the One true God; called to be, as we build the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
I suspect that, for many, these slower more introspective moments are uncomfortable; Uncomfortable in making us be with our solitary selves in a way that is so discouraged in our world of busyness, of doing, achieving.
A busy world marked by the dark seductions of success and failure.
For in this more contemplative place, black and white, in time, turn to grey, and grey gives way to the beauty of purple and midnight blue – the colours of darkness.
Maybe this is a place of fear, of loneliness, fear of being alone - lonely and alone.
And fear of the harshest judgment of all - the judgement that comes for ourselves - from the self.
And, alone, in the colours of darkness we wait - as we are called to wait.
We wait on God - wait on Christ.
And maybe, in those moments when we are honest with ourselves and others, we wait not knowing if God will come, not knowing if the love that marks the presence of God will once more fill our hearts.
And yet we wait, wait on God - wait on Christ.
But in the shrouded world of this strange dark land, maybe we sense something more –
not just the enfolding of the velvet darkness - but a sense of something.
Of things rare and beautiful, things, almost elusive, delicate. We can, if we allow ourselves, sense the holding, the upholding, of faith, hope and love.
Faith – sustaining, assuring; Hope – resilient, joyful; Love – abundant, lifegiving.
And here we wait. Wait in faith – that the light will come, that the waiting will end.
Wait in the faith, hope and love of God in Christ that
….. the dawn from on high shall break upon us – to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Wait courageously everyone!
The image above is courtesy of kmicican on pixabay.com
Suzanne Cooke is the vicar of four rural churches, sitting at the foot of the Cheviot Hills in the far north of Northumberland. Her call to ministry came whilst living with her family in North Norfolk and she is proud to have begun her ordained life in the Norwich Diocese.
The views carried here are those of the author, not of Network Norfolk, and are intended to stimulate constructive and good-natured debate between website users.