Of course the first thing to do was to make a grand survey of the country she was going to travel through. “It’s something very like learning geography,” thought Alice, as she stood on tiptoe in hopes of being able to see a little further.
Alice Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll
I remember as child standing on tiptoe at this time of year to reach the items on the toy shop shelves that Santa might just bring. I remember needing help to reach the things on higher shelves, sometimes it was a lower shelf to lean upon, sometimes my father would lift me up.
The toy shop was the old-fashioned kind full of wooden toys and incredible automatons. I remember one particular year – when I was going through my wooden pendelfin puppet phase – being mesmerised by a puppet stage complete with different back drops and curtains. I remember thinking how much better life would be with that stage, how much better I would instantly become at operating my existing puppets. Especially I remember quite vividly, that as if by magic that stage would mean I could suddenly work the strings of my dutch girl and poodle at the same time and they could dance across the stage in total harmony. That was but a childhood dream I never got the stage and I never really managed to work two puppets at the same time.
Now I dream of different things, not a puppet world but a world of flesh and bone where equality, justice, peace and respect rule. What has that to do with Advent you might be thinking, well it reminds me that I need to take the time to be like Alice and stand on my tiptoes to see the little further to survey the geography once more and make sure I haven’t missed anything, haven’t ended up going the wrong way, to see the things that could be achieved, to reach for the hopes that lie just out of reach, to seek out the ones who can give a helping hand so that together we can make the paths at least a little straighter for God’s Kingdom to come. The difference between my childhood dreams and Advent dreams is that Gaudete, rejoice Advent dreams will in God’s time be realised, while my childhood dreams have all fizzled and died never to be re-born.
Standing on tiptoes can be such fun, and Advent should be a season of hopeful joy. Sometimes, however, we might need help to reach that joy through the demands of the next season pressing into the joyful anticipation of this one. So here’s a helping hand for today.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.