Advent is a time of preparation but why prepare? Didn’t our Lord himself preach against this: “Consider the lilies of the field. They neither sow nor reap but not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these.” So should we just wait and see what happens? Such indolence may have attraction for those of us with too busy lives. Time to just sit back, kick off the shoes and watch the world rush by. We might be grateful of a steaming mug of hot chocolate or glass of red wine delivered to our hand. The cat may appreciate our stillness and choose to sit on our lap, adding to the sense of warmth and well-being.
But then reality hits. The wine or chocolate had to be bought in and prepared. The cat needs food (and attention if the cat wishes). Some degree of preparation creeps in. Then Advent itself calls upon us. The business of the run up to Christmas. On a secular level shops have been preparing for their great commercial festival for months and now is the culmination of all that business. The wider community is building up to a frenzy of consumerism, a conspicuous consumption that seems to largely ignore the poor at home and abroad.
Here in Scotland the snows arrived in the valleys just in time for the first Sunday in Advent. We can hope the Highways Agency have prepared for winter. Our gardens have been prepared for winter – tender plants protected. Preparation. So what about our preparation? Are we ready for a birth that can still change our world?