“Zechariah your wife Elizabeth is to bear you a son.”
Mary, listen, you are to conceive and bear a son.” (Luke 1: 13, 31)
We have already been in the Advent season in a sense; because we have been in a period of waiting since the pandemic began. Waiting for it to be over. Waiting for the suffering to end. Waiting for the vaccine and maybe a cure. Waiting for life to get back to normal, or the new normal, whatever that is.
Waiting, waiting, and more waiting. We were used to a different pace of life before, now the pace and rhythm of life has changed.
These words from Luke remind us of the promise of waiting. Zechariah and Elizabeth and Mary receive a promise that something is at work in them. What they are waiting for has already begun. This promise moves them forward and is lived out during their waiting. What has begun in us? What promises have we received? Zechariah and Elizabeth and Mary were living with a promise that nurtured them and allowed them to wait.
The word listen is important. Mary is asked to listen, to be fully present at that moment, to be attentive to the promise she is about to receive. How is it we can listen today? What are the ways we can be attentive? Listening is not thinking about how we will respond to a person or situation. Listening is not jumping in immediately with solutions or sharing how we would approach the situation. Listening is being fully present in the moment, not going back to another moment, or moving forward too soon.
A slower pace can help us listen. When we are in a hurry, we often want something to happen now, or soon, and then we get on with it, and move on quickly to the next project or event or relationship. A slower pace allows us to stay where we are, to live out the moment to its fullest, so that the something hidden will make itself known to us, and we can live into the promise.
Lord of the present, you are making something known in us at this moment. Help us to be attentive to what your promise is, and not look back or move forward too quickly. Be with us as we wait, as we learn to experience whatever promise has begun in us. May this beginning bring us and others new life.