1st Sunday in Advent B 

I am probably not the best person to writing about the season of Advent being a time of waiting. I am not very good at waiting – especially in queues of traffic! I am a punctual person, definitely my father’s daughter, so I don’t like having to wait. However, in my defence, as an ex-teacher, ex-school chaplain and now a chaplain to older people I have found that I can actually be patient. Maybe it is with people and important things that I can be more patient! 
Waiting in Advent should be seen as something positive – a time to grow spiritually. If we really enter into the waiting we are in touch with our deepest humanity – that is our dependence on God. We also learn to depend on others – we cannot live our lives in isolation. 
Times of waiting can bring us mixed feelings – boredom, anxiety, longing and anticipation, anger, excitement, fear or regret to mention but a few. Perhaps what we need to reflect on is how we use this waiting time. It can be put to so much use and of course, advent is no different. 
We are used to having indicators of these passing weeks – we number the Sundays, we have Advent wreaths and calendars to mark off the days. But perhaps instead of counting the days till it is over, we instead make sure each day counts. On various calendars I have made over the years I have assigned a thought, an idea, a simple task to each day. These have helped me – and others – to grow spiritually – helped to keep us on track, to prepare for the celebrations of Christmas – the birth of Jesus Christ. 
In this week’s Gospel, Jesus tells us to stay awake – how hard can that be? Jesus is telling us to ne prepared or we miss it. This can happen in so many aspects of our lives. We miss the important things, even ones we have been waiting for, because our minds, our bodies are elsewhere. 
We have heard it said many times that this Christmas will be like no other Christmas – and neither should it. No two Christmases should be alike because we change from year to year. This Advent we are given yet another opportunity to prepare for this important event – it is up to each one of us to take that opportunity and make the most of it so that when we enter the Christmas season we are really ready – spiritually – to celebrate and we won’t miss a thing! 
Sr. Margaret Mattison 
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