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Ron Thomlinson sifts out some seasonal truths

The Advent journey demands courage

ON 3 August 1955, Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot received its London pre­miere. It was a milestone in British theatre and also in the life of its young director, Peter Hall. Many years later, Sir Peter explained that for him the play had ‘turned waiting into something dramatic’.

He went on to say that waiting had become a ‘metaphor for living. What are we actually liv­ing for, what are we waiting for … will Godot come … will something come to explain why we’re here and what we’re doing.’

Advent is, in the simplest of terms, wait­ing for God. Waiting to welcome him into our lives. Waiting, expecting and willing to be changed because of that encounter.

We cannot experience Advent while wear­ing body armour to prevent our heart and mind from being touched by the Divine. Advent is the time to hoist the white flag of surrender above our souls and let God in.

I see a beautiful Advent attitude in a power­fully gentle song composed by Peter Skellern, ‘Waiting for the Word’.

The song opens with the lines:

I could follow you,

I could be so true,

I’m just waiting for the word …

Let me know you’re here,

Call me loud and clear

For as yet I have not heard …

I’m just waiting for the word.

The Advent journey demands courage, and we proceed with caution. It means entering the realms of not-knowing, of suspending control and of questioning.

It’s about asking questions such as: What does Advent tell me about myself and about God? What is the good news for me this Advent?

This spiritual waiting is not only dramatic but also a metaphor for living.

A friend recently gave me a book that was specifically designed with broad margins and white space round the text. The book was made in this way to make it possible to underline and make notes in the hope that I, the reader, might just find a thought, a story, a sentence or a word which would add something to my own story.

We would be well advised to read the Advent story in the same way.

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