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A return to Advent

(Is 2.1-5; Rom 13.11-14; Mt 24.37-44)

Occasionally events that change our lives can occur out of the blue. I recall a wonderful four day train trip I made across Canada from Toronto to Vancouver. As we were coming into Edmonton, the train hostess told me that it boasted the largest mall in Canada and that she had met her future husband walking up the stairs there.

More often, however, such transforming moments come about when we see something utterly familiar with new eyes. God’s final coming will be like that, as Matthew tells us, just as the people of Noah’s day were overwhelmed by deluge and flood. (Mt 24.38-39)

Three years ago, after my return to Wellington after many years living away, I received an invitation to have a meal in the house where I had grown up and had left more than fifty years ago. It had been out of our family for over thirty years.

My memory had been of a place with a huge kitchen, a hallway where we played cricket on wet days, and mum and dad’s enormous bedroom. What I saw was tiny, and a huge question bubbled up in me – how did my parents and eight kids manage in that small three bedroom house.

As we face another Advent and a new year rolls around once more, it may seem like a repetition of the same old, same old: work, mortgages, kids with unending needs and illnesses. Yet what was true of my return to my old family home is also true of the coming year. The house had changed little but I was an utterly different person from the eighteen year old who had left for the seminary.

Here lies a lesson as to what we should beg of God this Christmas and the coming year – though I see the world with old eyes, my inner spirit comprehends it in new, powerful and hopeful ways, just as God sees it.

1st Sunday Advent Year A1

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