In his latest book “How then shall we live” Samuel Wells, the Vicar of St Martin-in-the- Fields, London, writes an interesting chapter on Obesity. In it he claims that the current growth in Obesity isn’t just about over-eating and lack of exercise it is also about a state of mind. He argues that part of the reason for this being the major health issue facing USA and UK citizens today is due to a state of mind. He goes on to say that none of us are ready to face the world, that we have become, as societies, people who lack direction, reason to exist, reason to be “fit”. Picking up on what St Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9 where he says that we should all be like athletes getting fit for the sporting games, that in our faith we should be ready for God and what God wants us to do. We need to be prepared, we need to be ready.
Advent is a Season when we can strive to do that, when we can look at our lives and what is not fit for purpose in them and try and do something about them. For too many people it is the long prelude to Christmas, they let it pass them by and don’t allow this season of Focus help them get there lives in order. This is a great shame for if we are to face the challenges of the world, if we are to be ready for Jesus, both at his first coming at Christmas and at his second coming to bring in his Kingdom, we need to be ready.
The four candles on the Advent ring talk about getting us ready. The first is for the Patriarchs, the founders of our faith, who tell us this is the direction we are to travel in if we are going to get closer to God and be ready for his rule. They are like the founders of a Football club who have a vision of what that club has to do. The second candle is for the Prophets who show us how to get our lives back in order so that we will be ready. They are like football managers, they show us what is needed to get ourselves ready. Then there is the candle for John the Baptist, who prepares the way for Jesus, and tells everyone how they must get ready for action. He is like the club captain inspiring action on the pitch and calling us to do what need to be done. Finally we have Mary, who carries Jesus in her womb, she literally brings Jesus into the world so that he can make the difference. She is like the star player who delivers on the promises of the Patriarchs, Prophets and John The Baptist.
So are you ready? Are you prepared to train to get ready? In the words of Samuel Wells will you “Look at your life. Is it easy to see what you want? What do you want?” If your unsure perhaps its time to use Advent to find out, to change your life to become match-fit for God, for the world’s challenges and for the coming of his Kingdom.