The people of Advent

The people of Advent are "us". The Baptist prods us on to newness, and the Zachariah in us resists until our Elizabeth insists. Our Joseph lets it happen, and the young Mary in us seizes the gift and runs with it. It must be so if the Christ in us is to be born. ~ Elizabeth Meluch

When I saw these words on Twitter this morning, my first thought was oh yes... There's something of each of these people in each of us - though more, much more, needs to be fostered and to grow. My second, almost immediate thought was - but Zachariah wasn't so much a resister as a realist. Yes, he was a priest, experiencing a fearsome angelic visitation, but he was also grounded in his reality, of age and long-gone fertility; probably, too, his experience of disappointment and dashed hopes. My third thought was that it would be lovely for Gabriel to also be "us"; or rather for us to be Gabriel, foretelling new life and proclaiming God's call and great favour.

And then I thought that the walk-on, bit-part, unnamed people of Advent are also "us". We can, alas, be the townsfolk whose opprobrium Joseph sought to avoid, just as we can also be the neighbours who supported and rejoiced with Elizabeth. We are the midwives, often unnamed but so essential, who enable Christ to be born into this world, and into so many lives. And, of course, we are all of us innkeepers, able to decide whether we can make room in our hearts where Christ can be born, not just at Christmas but every day, in so many ways...