Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Impossible Advent

I've been meditating this quote below from Ann Pettifor on Simon Barrow's blog

“We’ve lost the ability to hold our breath. Everything is instantly available, regardless of longer-term costs, and the damage we do to ourselves and our planet is immense. So we get into debt, we produce more emissions and become unhappy if we are not immediately gratified.”

In the northern hemisphere Advent coincides with busy end of year deadlines, not an easy time to delay gratification. Looking at what it is that truly nourishes us can actually be quite scary - it calls into question values we take for granted, like having money, spending money and time on things rather than on people.

This evening I've been thinking about a wonderful lady in my parish who for years cared for a husband with Alzheimer's. She gave modest amounts to the church but gave away more than 20% of her teacher's pension to a variety of French and overseas charities. She also gave generously of her time to help immigrant children with their schoolwork and adults with writing official letters. Any of her aquaintances having problems making ends meet at the end of the month knew that she'd always provide them with a square meal.

Church wasn't really her thing, although she read her Bible and prayed daily. For me she embodies straightforward, joyful, open minded Christian witness. Her witness also shows me that Advent values are possible. It's not just about giving it's about caring.

This statement on the sidebar of Advocacy International's website also inspired me to think there are small places where Advent is possible:

Ours is a dynamic, professional, hard-working team with big achievements to their credit. But they're human too: approachable, keen and above all, committed.