We are waiting for Christmas, or are we not? Waiting is a conscious action, although by its nature there seems to be no action while we wait 😉 Advent is time when we wait for Christmas.
We live in a time in which actions we do in daily life is increasingly automated. We have come a long way from struggling to coordinate hand and feet to find the balance for our car to stay still on a slope. We give in to our incontrollable tendency to shift our gears and run ahead to seek assurance of answers we expect. We are intensely distracted by results; a hurry to live in the future that is yet to come alive, forsaking the present moment in which life is much alive.
Increased automation has indeed saved us a lot of time but where in our life has it all gone? Has it been rushed by our own consciousness into a desired future?
Advent is a time of waiting. Waiting is a conscious action, not an inaction. Waiting is making ourselves alive to the present moment; to consciously grab the gear stick and step on the clutch, and to be aware that your car is sliding backwards. Waiting invites us into the awareness of the present moment and everything a moment can offer to our life.
I used to spend time with a woman during her Advent waiting for the coming of Christ except that it wasn’t Christmas she was waiting for. Her physical body already battered by a myriad of illnesses, bent out of shape by rheumatoid arthritis. In her suffering, time has no escape to a future dream, it stood still, so still, allowing for an acute consciousness of each moment that brings pain and discomfort.
One day I was sat in front of her and she had an itch caused by a mosquito on her back. Her arms were no longer mobile, unable to stretch for the luxury of a scratch. I offered my nimble fingers but she simply smiled and said, “This too is God’s will”. Not so much the itch or the scratch, but this patient waiting for Christ to come to bring her home.
In that moment, there was no need to worry about a future for there is already a sureness about its destination; she was going home to her Creator. It was no longer the end result but the living of each moment to insulate herself from the pain and discomfort of this world. Frozen into each moment was a conscious awareness that Christ is present dwelling in her as her Saviour. He has brought peace upon her. This is Christmas lived every moment in life.
There is no need to rush life into a frenzy because what we are looking for in the future is already present in the present. There is nothing this world has that we can use to barter for true happiness and peace. They are already dwelling in us and each Christmas brings us this tender reminder.
Waiting can bring us this realisation. We grow to become better fruits for the season. Dwelling in the stillness of time and digging deep into our hearts, we may find an itch that needs scratching: the presence of Christ who is asking us to allow him into our lives.
Today’s reading, “Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and late rains. You too must be patient”.
(Photo: On the path to Hellfire Pass, Kanchanaburi, Thailand)
3rd Sunday in Advent