Jesus is coming look busy – ness in the eye

Advent makes us aware of the coming Christ, and perhaps we need to to look the busy-ness of Christmas in the eye. I am always amazed at how unprepared Mary was for the birth, there was no cot, and a distinct lack of forward planning. Maybe there was something in the timing so she and Joseph were caught slightly unaware, busy with other things, worried about how others might be viewing the timing of the event?
We prepare for Christmas, we prepare for birth, we busy ourselves with these preparations. What is it in us that drives us to prepare for this season? Advent helps us focus towards the coming light but what is it on our shadow sides that drives the busy-ness of the preparations?

Advent in the dark

We wait in the darkness, expectantly, longingly, anxiously, thoughtfully.

The darkness is our friend.

In the darkness of the womb, we have all been nurtured and protected.

In the darkness of the womb the Christ-child was made ready for the journey into light.

It is only in the darkness that we can see the splendour of the universe – blankets of stars, the solitary glowings of the planets.

It was the darkness that allowed the Magi to find the star that guided them to where the Christ-child lay.

In the darkness of the night, desert people find relief from the cruel relentless heat of the sun.

In the blessed desert darkness Mary and Joseph were able to flee with the infant Jesus to safety in Egypt.

In the darkness of sleep, we are soothed and restored,healed and renewed.

In the darkness of sleep, dreams rise up. God spoke to Joseph and the wise men through dreams. God is speaking still. Sometimes in the solitude of the darkness our fears and concerns, our hopes and visions rise to the surface.We come face to face with ourselves and with the road that lies ahead of us. And in that same darkness we find companionship for the journey. In that same darkness we sometimes allow ourselves to wonder and worry whether the human race is going to survive. And then, in the darkness we know that you are with us, O God, yet still we await your coming. In the darkness that contains both our hopelessness and our hope, we watch for a sign of God’s hope. For you are with us, O God, in darkness and in light.

Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand (abridged)