This chapter deals with some themes which are looming large for me at the moment. The relationship between “looking up”, to see the big picture, and “looking down”, to the detail. The balance between contemplation and action.
It seems that advent is a time for looking up, when we too might focus on our guiding star, the light which leads us. A time for stepping away from the little things, the petty fears, the niggling doubts, and seeing instead God’s big picture – for us, for the world, for Godself. Isn’t that what the enormity of the incarnation which we contemplate demands? Isn’t it what the all-consuming magnitude of the Coming which we anticipate will require?
And perhaps it seems that advent should be a time of contemplation. Which it is. We pause, we reflect, we step out again in wonder and adoration on the journey to the manger, which is ultimately the journey to the cross and the gloriously empty tomb. But to say that it is a season of contemplation should not deter us from action. There comes a point where we, like Casper, are stirred by our very contemplation into decisive action. Action which comes from a deep well of contemplation.
Some people are drawing connections between advent and the protests currently happening in the USA. And no wonder – if advent is about contemplating the coming of God’s kingdom, which is justice and peace and joy, how can we not be moved to speech and to action when we see those things being so callously disregarded?
Advent is an active kind of waiting, a journeying kind of waiting. The kind of waiting which changes us, and makes us want to change the world. So, what are we waiting for?