Good or bad, right or wrong, Advent's gift to me was a perpetual rhythm of non-stop motion.
Standing here now on the threshold of After Advent, I observed my hurry and along with it, worry. And Advent is over, but the hurry of a year barely awake is threatening to burst out of the gate.
There you and I go …and keep going…in the rising and walking, stopping and list-making, sitting and sleeping, running and stumbling, searching and losing, and frantically increasing our pace to regain lost time. The moments of Advent are gone before we even notice they have come to us. These moments not only came to us as an opportunity to receive life and breath for another minute, but as gifts that should have made us stop dead in our tracks and literally take our breath away.
Wonder cannot be hurried.
Wonder must be savoured in the ‘time-standing-still’ moments that are best enjoyed with slow and long breaths in and exhaling only when we have received its best gift.
Each Advent moment was a chance to grasp and take hold of something Eternal that is not of our own making or of our own doing in the day to day of our horizontal lives. Each Advent moment was a chance to look up, and with every muscle in our soul, turn our gaze from the horizontal tyranny of the next thing….upward – to the Face of God – and see Him in each fleeting moment. What did we grasp? What did we miss?
And so we come to a New Year. What are we waiting in wonder for in 2016? Stop. Look up. Breathe in. And be still. As if you had no breath. Moments of wonder literally take your breath away. Moments of wonder allow you to experience that you are not alone. Never alone. Moments of wonder remind you that Emmanuel, God With Us, is above you, before you, behind you, and all around you.
The season of Advent may be over for another year.
But what is just beginning is This Year. This New Year. This Year that promises moments full of wonder. These are the seconds, minutes, and days that are After Advent. And we Wait…and we Wonder. How will God manifest His presence with us? How will He open our eyes to the New Things that He is going to do for us in this nation? How will He make Us new - inside, and out?
Thomas Merton reminds us of the stillness required to receive the moments of wonder:
“How long we wait,
with minds as quiet as time,
Like sentries on a tower.
How long we watch, by night, like the astronomers.”
It is in the waiting with minds as quiet as time, with breath exhaled, with holy After Advent watching, and waiting, that we receive the gift of wonder and the peace it brings.
Let's look up this day and every day of the New Year ahead. Let's see with our eyes the New Thing that God is going to be laying on our hearts, individually and collectively. Let's hear with our ears the New Word that He wants to whisper and shout into our souls that will direct each step.
We wait in wonder at Gather Women. And we want to see, and hear and receive the After Advent gifts. Let's wait together. Let us Gather in this New Year and wait in wonder.