“..see the days are coming when I am going to fulfil the promise I made..” ..in cold bleak early December with bleak prospects for our Brexit negotiations, & with last few months of crisis we have all shared & suffered, it is natural to think “empty promises” our world our government & even our Church seemingly offer us everything & so often we are left cold empty drained..& hopeless.. however, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” ..indeed so let us begin again ..this a season of expectation & of simplicity in word & mood, & let us reverse two words “empty promises” to “promises & emptiness”.. we are promised the birth of the Christ child, the advent [coming ] of divine love made flesh in you & me..& if that divine love personified in the Christ child is to be born in us, we need to empty out our spiritual womb space, to ready our manger & warm our hearts.. two words ; a new start in a good mood, a very good mood ; “ promises & emptiness”
“in those days & at that time..” Sat/Sun 1&2 Dec 2018 this is the moment .. ; Lord have mercy “practice honesty & integrity” to practice, or to learn for first time, self honesty & personal integrity.. ; Christ have mercy “saved & dwell in confidence” saved by the message of an angel, dwelling in person in a stable in a nondescript village like ours.. ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
“stay awake” ..during WW2 War Office needed a Morse code operator for its communications room.. advertised nationally to get best candidates..on day of interviews perhaps 35 travelled to London..gathered in large room in War Office awaiting further information on process.. place buzzed with conversation as they all shared some of their story..at last minute a further candidate came in..he looked round & weaved his way across room through everyone else to a door marked “private”..he knocked on door & a man opened it, spoke to candidate & then addressed everyone else in room “thank you all for coming..we have our successful applicant..” a shocked silence then fury as the others protested at being called all that way & at expense, & not even gaining an interview..the man called for silence..in background was a message in Morse code being broadcast..”if you hear this message, go across the room to the door marked “private” & knock”..& the latecomer was only one who, in spite of the busy conversations in progress, heard the signals translated them & responded.. “stay awake” to the gentle note/ sound of message & person below the radar..this Advent be ready to hear what many others will miss, as they chatter together about the journey to an interview or to the manger, about delays interruptions illnesses & ruined plans, even anxieties about which shepherds or in-laws may come, invited or otherwise, to our crib & our meal this year..how will my Christmas be? how spiritually fit am I? is this to be just another Advent? with a 5 min frantic slot with a priest sometime in next four weeks, seeking reconciliation & a spiritual pardon, a sign off, a back to work servant discipleship sick note before 25 Dec?.. “stay awake” maybe we are called to come at it late, like the interviewee with his perfect pitch of spiritual hearing, where listening is a fine art..to listen to beat of the angels wings as she brings you a message & a mission in spiritual Morse code “if you hear his message open your heart to Jesus, to me, for next 22 days, & with your real spiritual presence, I will be born into life, into your life, this Christmas”.. “watch yourselves..stay awake”..& when pray will Christmas happen?..I would like to suggest it happens as & when you & I realise that Morse code & the beat of the angels wings has given way to a quieter gentler more powerful & intimate mode of listening.. Christmas happens when you allow your heartbeat to slow down, & let it begin to beat in time, in unity, in loving intimacy with the divine heartbeat..& when the two are eventually in unison, beating in synchronisation, then the Christ child will be born into our hearts.. “watch yourselves..stay awake” its not so much a cautionary warning but a whisper of opportunity; watch, look at yourself, be alert aware to all that you have grown into this year. a wisdom, spiritual maturity..”stir up” in our opening prayer at Mass each day last week..stir up the mixture..my sister making her mincemeat last week at home asked me to give it a virtual stir..including me in her special advent moments of preparing the way, stirring activating the ingredients into a mixture with a taste to die for..Jesus asks invites & offers it to you & I too..a virtual stir of the goodness mincemeat of a real spiritual Christmas in texture & flavour..”the Lord our integrity” when we integrate him into our Advent, his grace soaks into our life & spirituality, & ensures a season of seasoning, where life love & truth mix & mature.. ..earlier this week a Bletchley Park code breaker died ..she was commended with her colleagues by Churchill at time for their work & for their silence in keeping the secret of the codes..as Advent disciples, code breaking on our journey towards Christmas, Christ commends us for breaking the code & then not keeping silent but sharing secrets of the real Christmas..enjoy Advent the real thing.. [ 1st Advent Yr C Lk 21;25-28.34-36]