Watching for the Ordinary


Advent is all about expectant waiting. Actually, Jesus disciples are called to a life of expectant waiting. Most of us live in a culture that does not like to wait for anything, much less expectantly. Most of us have our own deadline-driven action plans that rule our lives. This is not what Jesus had in mind as recorded in our Matthew scripture passage.

What does expectant waiting look like? Jesus gives us good guidance. It’s not about looking up, but looking around. Jesus came in the midst of ordinary life – in the midst of eating and drinking, working in the fields and at the mill.

If we think about where Jesus did most of his ministry, it was exactly in those ordinary places. It was in homes of friends, at the bedsides of the sick, while walking along the road, while just hanging out. I imagine it be like meeting a friend at Starbucks, visiting a loved one in the hospital, driving the carpool, or grocery shopping. Nothing special, but in the midst of what we do in our every day lives.

What do we see when we look around at the people with whom we find in our lives? Do we see these ordinary people and events as alien life forms and artifacts that are imposed on our lives? Or do we see see them as part of God interfacing and intersecting with our lives? We don’t know who will carry God’s message or presence to us, so we must be on the look out with everyone and everywhere.

What are we looking for? Are we looking for the end of the world through some apocalyptic disaster? Or do we see God’s transforming power as we come together to care for one another, welcome the stranger, or in just being kind to those we meet? We don’t know when or how God will show up, so we must be watching anywhere and anytime.

Finally, how are we watching and waiting? Are we filled with anxiety and fear because we don’t want to miss out and be “left behind”? Have we gotten bored and distracted? Or have we tuned our hearts and vision to being aware of what and who are around us? Will we discover opportunities to witness to the wonders and joy in ordinary things with ordinary people are always with us?  Are we watching? Waiting expectantly?

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