“As we approach this second Sunday of Advent, we are officially in summer. The evenings are still getting lighter, and the days, a little warmer – despite a somewhat slow beginning this year.
Advent is the season of longing. I often remember how I felt when I was pregnant. I was longing for the safe birth of my child. When we are anticipating something, we have work to do – we need to plan carefully, and to make sure everything is in order. I remember the joy of preparing for Will, our first child. John and I enjoyed shopping for the important things – the pram, the car seat, etc., but there were also many small things, such as knitted booties, and shawls, nappies, and toys.
There were some fears, too. We feared for the health of our child, for the world we would be welcoming him into. We hoped and we dreamed.
We longed to see his face, and to hold him close. Sometimes, the thought of the responsibilities of parenthood was quite overwhelming. However, there was also the knowledge that, once we were on that road of pregnancy, there could be no turning back.
I wonder what Mary’s thoughts must have been, as she awaited Jesus’ birth? What fears and joys became a part of her life, and Joseph’s?
We are expecting not only the Christ-child of Christmas, but the coming of the Son of Man – the return of Christ. We must long for that, as much as we long for the birth of any child; because this is the meaning of our existence. We are the Body of Christ, active and acting on God’s behalf, as the Church. It is our role and our purpose to wait, with eager anticipation. We need to be alert for the sounds and the signs of the reign of Christ in our midst.
If a figure like John the Baptist suddenly arrived in Flinders, in Cape Schanck, in Shoreham, Somers, Merricks, Balnarring – what would our reaction be? What if he told us we were all a brood of vipers? What if he called our leaders to repent?
When we look at our church, at our parish, at our lives – what are the good fruits we see?