First Sunday of Advent
Scripture: Matthew 24: 36 – 44
When was the last time that you were filled with so much anticipation that you actually thought you might burst before the anticipated event arrived? Maybe it was a time when you were expecting a visit from an old friend or a present from someone special. Or maybe it was a time when you were so very proud of your keen selection of the perfect gift for that very special person and you wanted the time to arrive when you would present the gift. These experiences often describe time as slowing or standing almost still – far from the reality of time continuing forward.
The story of Mary and Elizabeth is a story of hope and of joy — of ancient longings for redemption and security finally fulfilled; of a future that can be faced with confidence and with excitement. Those two impossibly pregnant women-the barren wife of an aging priest, and an unknown virgin with neither royal blood nor an important family-began a song of praise that has continued through twenty centuries: “My soul magnifies the Lord,” Mary sings, “and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.”
And both the world out there and our own souls desperately need this pure word of joy and of hope. For in the midst of all the Christmas spirit around us, we know there is also a lot of pain. We all know how Advent can be an especially difficult time, and an especially empty time, and an excruciatingly painful time, for so very many people — people out there, and people in here. That grim fact gets clearer every day. I hope the context of time and waiting leads you into a different place. And perhaps, as happened to Mary and Elizabeth, some new life will begin to grow within us, new life that can begin once more to transform us; and, through us, to renew our world.
Christmas is waiting, and listening and as happened to Mary and Elizabeth, some new life will begin to grow within us, new life that can begin once more to transform us; and, through us, to renew our world.
-Rev. Dr Fei Taule’ale’ausumai
Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ)
We pray for the world as it continues to come to terms with living in a pandemic. A world in which women and young girls live in terror in Afghanistan and many other parts of the world. A world where we can only pray and hope for justice and peace. Surround us with your love and may your realm upon this earth come beginning with me. Amen.