Waiting as we build

Advent is the time of waiting.

This year I’ve been waiting the completion of a house in the countryside, so that I can live in the center of the parish of Dulce Nombre where I am helping with the pastoral work. I hope to move in within three weeks.

But waiting is anything but passive – especially when you are building a house.

Waiting means being alert, attentive, watching.

So I’ve been stopping at the construction site at least three times each week – to check and see that things are going right and that there are enough supplies to continue the construction. I also stop to encourage the workers.

One day I found them building a wall where I wanted an open space. Another day I found them putting the plumbing for the toilet where the sink should have been.

But then there were the days when I found them doing something I didn’t expect – but which is really useful.

I even had to trust that the construction supervisor knew what he was doing when he designed the roof – so that, as he told me, that it wouldn’t blow off in the high winds.

Every once in a while I would bring the workers a three liter bottle of Coke, as a way of thanking them and encouraging them.

And one day I found that they had put my name in a floor with broken tiles.

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Advent waiting might be like that.

We need to check to see that things are going right in our lives.

Have we constructed a wall where there should be an open space?

Have we checked to see that we have not put our priorities where they shouldn’t be?

We also need to be open to God’s actions in our lives.

Have we let ourselves be surprised by everyday events, realizing that all is not in our hands and sometimes someone else knows best?

Have we let the great builder – or the potter as Isaiah describes God in today’s lectionary reading (Isaiah 64: 7) – show us the design that we need and mold us according to that design?

Are we ready for the surprise of God’s presence in our lives and in our homes?

Are we aware that God calls us by our name?

And are we grateful for all the work that God puts into our lives, filling them with love?

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