advent 20 sample (from the last series)

// 1 - Jumping In

Last week, I was up at school waiting for my 7-year-old to come skipping out of her class, as she so often does at the end of the day. I was a little early, and chose not to check e-mails on my phone but to try to be present; to watch and wait instead.

Soon, a gift! A little girl in a shiny red coat and wellies toddled up. She’d spotted a solitary puddle in the playground, just in front of me (how powerful, the pull of puddles!) and was transfixed, as if it were the first she’d ever seen. She circled the puddle, gazed into it, jumped across it, and finally - splash! - she leapt right in.

Her face lit up. She was over-brimming with wonder, and for a few blissful moments, so was I.

"Children have open, wide-awake eyes, because they know they are surrounded by the mystery," wrote the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, musing on Advent from his Nazi prison cell during the Second World War. “They ... do not know how to struggle along and avoid the mystery, as we do."

Sadly, the girl's parent, who’d been chatting away, preoccupied, whisked her back abruptly to stand with the grown-ups. I’m not judging; I've done the same. I expect most of us have unwittingly dissipated 'the mystery', even as we've had it dissipated by others.

Mercifully, however, Advent offers the very greatest invitation, during this brief but beautiful window in the calendar, to wonder once more. To circle the mystery; to gaze deeply into it, afresh. And to jump back in.

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul writes that "God's mystery ... is Christ himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."

Christ himself. I find myself wondering (and wonder seems to generate so many more wonders!): What was it was like for God to show up, present, here, in Jesus? To circle life itself, to gaze into it, as if for the first time, and to jump right in?

I wonder what kind of splash the little boy made, as he landed.
And how his face lit up, over-brimming with a wonder of its own...

So here we are, then, at the invitation of this Advent season. Who knows what it will hold? May we be ready to watch and wait, as if for the first time, perhaps: for the kind of treasures hidden in the plain sight of a child.

Go well!

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