So the expectant, attentive wait of Advent is almost over for another year. And yet, that which we wait for – Jesus’ return – has not yet been fulfilled. Do we continue to wait? Yes, but we wait knowing that we cannot sustain the intensity of waiting, and knowing that we must attend to other chapters of our story.
For Advent is the first chapter of our story, the story we re-tell through the seasons of the Church year. And, strangely perhaps, our story begins with a looking-forward to its sequel, which is yet to be written. It frames all that follows, with the recognition that the world is not, yet, as it should be; not, yet, as it will be. It sets the scene – the problem in need of resolution – into which the principal character – the one who will, in the end, resolve the plot – will come.
A strange beginning, perhaps, but a wise one: for at times, the night will seem so dark, hope all but snuffed out, that we shall need to return here,
year on year
until he comes.
The photo is of Bethlehem at night, taken from just outside the checkpoint.