Thursday, December 17, 2009

Watching and Waiting

Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. Matthew 25:13

Advent is a time of watching and waiting. And for most of us, it is a time to scurry around trying to get good gifts for our families, while making all of the other preparations for the holidays. We cut a tree last weekend and brought it in last night. We will probably set it up today or tomorrow and then decorate it in a day or two. In our family we don't like to get the tree up too early but we have company coming and we're on a deadline. There always seems so much to do and so little time. We can all become a bit frantic. Things get lost or overlooked and in all the busy-ness of the season we can forget to watch and wait. I remember as a child sitting by the tree for hours, sometimes laying underneath watching the lights twinkle, wait desperately for Christmas. I was completely anxious for Santa to come and my whole body was poised, watching and waiting, hoping to speed up time. These days, I only wish to slow the time down.

Jesus tells a parable of the wise and foolish virgins who were waiting for the bridegroom to arrive. The foolish didn't prepare for the lateness of the arrival hour, didn't think they would be surprised. They knew how it should go and didn't expect anything out of the ordinary. They thought they were in control of things and then got surprised by being short on oil and then left out of the party. I surely feel like one of the foolish ones these days, not being as prepared as I would like, not having everything ready for the big day and the arrival of family and friends. I am not sure that Jesus wants us to be perfect Martha Stewart hostesses. I am convinced that God wants our hearts ready, hearts filled with abundance and compassion as we wait for Emmanuel -God with us to come. Having extra oil is as much about making room for others and the complexities of life, rather than being perfect.

So today, I want to work at making room. I want to watch and wait with the anxious, hopeful expectancy of youth which does not limit imagination or love. I want to have these last days of Advent not be about tasks but about relationships, preparing for love to come my way. May we all give our time to making room for love to come our way. Emmanuel - God with us.

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