It seems that at any time in our lives, we are waiting for something.

The child is waiting for her birthday.

The young man waits for his exam results while the girl who sits next to him, waits for him to notice her.

The family sit around an injured cyclist, waiting for him to regain consciousness.

A couple wonder if the bank will give them a loan for the house they want to buy..

This waiting is not simply about leaning towards something. Expectation may be in the head, but in the heart there is something much deeper – hope.

Hope is not a thought. It’s a feelimg.

When we follow the Advent path of that feeling no matter how long it is, or what time of year, we end up in a stable where a woman holds a  baby.

The days before Christmas can get cluttered with decoration and busyness,  but underneath that, in the stillness, is where hope leads us.

The experience is not something out of a book.

It is actual.

We recognise Joseph, a man of honour, still confused.  Although he loves this woman and her special baby, he wishes someone would explain what it’s all about.

He is a practical man. He knows the grain of different woods and how to shape olive and cedar. Trees are not complicated. He doesn’t understand why God should bring new life into the world this way.

We are with Mary, the girl child now a woman but she has no questions. She is radiant.

She doesn’t realise she has presaged the Eucharist by surrendering body and blood to give Christ to the world.

That is beyond her.

All she knows is that she is in love with this little baby. The way he fills her life seems as big as the sky.

She holds him to her breast, lost in the wonder she calls God.

Now we come to the newborn infant. We know him. We have always known him. He is the Word made flesh and through him all things, including us, are made.

His name is Jesus. God -is-with-us.

This is the destination of  the hope-filled path of Advent. It is where waiting leads us.

And the stable?  What is the stable?

We know that, too.

It is the beautiful heart in each one of us.

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