As Advent begins the message is loud and clear: stay awake. Advent calls us to be awake and attentive to the many ways in which the Word made Flesh is already present in our lives. It calls us too to hope that all that weighs heavy in our personal lives, and the world, will be touched by Christ’s birth.
The hearers of Mark’s Gospel lived in a time of great uncertainty, their days marked by violence and threat. This level of threat probably meant that they were in a permanent state of alert. We know enough now about our physiology to recognise that our bodies suffer when the fight or flight response is triggered too often. So how are we to hear Mark’s words today?
On a simple level I hear in the text an invitation to be open and ready to all the ways in which God will be revealed to me this Advent. I can neither control nor predict those ways, but I know for certain that they will happen. Some of the ways in which God will be revealed will be gentle, others won’t. My Advent always starts well, but it doesn’t take long before many things compete for my attention. My hope is that I will stay awake.
How is God calling you to stay awake this Advent?
(Advent Sunday 1, Mark 13:33-37)