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Advent: A time to wait
Yesterday we considered the struggle between light and darkness. Another great difference between electric light and candlelight is speed. With electric light, as soon as we think it is getting a little gloomy, we can remedy the situation with a flick of a switch. Admittedly energy saving light bulbs have, in their turn, slowed this process as we wait for them to glow at full strength, but the action of lighting a candle takes even longer.
First we locate the candle, then the means to light it, then the match or lighter kindles a flame, then we wait while the flame catches hold and finally we have light.
Slowing the movement from darkness to light reminds us of another important aspect of Advent which is waiting. The Advent wreath tells of the slow journey from the world’s need for God’s love and salvation to the birth of Christ.
As we remember first our ancestors in the faith (like Abraham and Sarah), then the prophets, then John the Baptist and finally Mary, we remind ourselves of the slow movement towards the fulfilment of God’s salvation in the person of Jesus.
In Advent we learn the importance of waiting, of holding ourselves in anticipation for the ‘advent’ of Jesus, the one for whom we wait. Fumbling as we light our Advent candles is a good way of reminding ourselves of the importance of waiting and of learning to do it well.
By Paula Gooder
At The Children’s Society we are working in communities with children and young people where they are. This often won’t mean a quick-fix or an immediate result. It will often involve working with that young person over a period of months or years, helping them to address the problems they face. And sometimes this involves waiting with them. Tomorrow, read an example of how we do this, working with young people with drug and alcohol issues.
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