[the sky is a weird yellow-grey colour in melbourne this morning, the sun is blood red, the air is thick with the smell of smoke. Buildings just 50 metres away outside my window are covered with a haze of smoke. I’m thinking of those, just a few hundred kilometres away, who can’t see the sky or sun (or more than a metre in front of them) for smoke, where the air is coloured red with immanent flames… and also of those just across bass strait who are sifting through the embers of burnt houses wondering if they’ll find anything of their lives worth keeping]

i’ve not really celebrated advent this year. it’s not been a deliberate thing. stuff’s just got in the way, none of which i regret at all. i’ve discovered myself in communities of people who are already waiting, without needing the reminder of advent to do so – perhaps advent has found its way to me.

i’ve always liked the idea that the church seasons are about rehearsing how to live faithfully in the biggest moments of life. in advent we rehearse waiting, so that we know how to wait with faith when the times of waiting come in our lives. i’ve been spending advent – by chance not design – with those for whom this advent is no dress rehearsal.

i’ve just been listening to the news and almost every story included the word ‘waiting’…

waiting to see what the fires will do
waiting for rain
waiting for fighting to stop
waiting for food
waiting for the coroners’ report
waiting for sentencing

and i’m holding in my mind those whose stories don’t make the news…

waiting for blood test results
waiting for a temporary protection visa
waiting for the next welfare cheque
waiting to see what mood their dad will be in tonight
waiting for release
waiting for refugee status
waiting for it to be over
waiting for it to begin.

i’m still learning what waiting with faith looks like for those who are living it with every breath… or maybe i’m learning that living waiting with every breath is in itself a fierce act of faith.


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