Are you waiting too?

by Puleng Matsaneng

The Christmas season is a time of joy for many. One of the carols which says it all for me is: Joy to the World. Families and friends find time to bond. The rich mix of our migrant culture makes Christmas more cosmopolitan and, therefore, more vibrant.

People plan for Christmas day as early as the beginning of the year. They take part in saving clubs. These clubs differ. I just have learnt of one in which people have saved to buy cattle to start a small farming project. I knew about saving clubs that bought huge quantities of groceries to share. Sharing normally happens a week or so before Christmas. I was amazed by this new club – cattle for a farming business!

This explains why, if we agree to come together, we can make a difference to our lives and to the world in which we live.

Sadly, for some people it isn’t that easy, they are faced with hunger and struggle each day.

The Advent wreath, with its candles, reminds us that Christ is the light of the world. Through him we have hope, love, joy and peace offered to us. This Sunday we will light the rose candle of joy (Gaudete “Joy” Sunday) as a reminder that Jesus’ birth is closer.

A beautiful moment in the Christmas story is the search for Jesus by the kings and the invitation God offers to the shepherds. The kings and shepherds are prepared to welcome the newborn king. In love the kings have treasures ready for him. The shepherds wait in joyful anticipation and prayer. They hold onto hope, love, joy and peace.

King Herod has his own agenda. He is a totally different person compared to the kings and the shepherds. We see Herod’s ugly search to kill the newborn child. He had already started killing his very own children. He was perturbed and gave a harsh instruction to the soldiers to go out and kill all those children under the age of 2 years old.

Amid this Joseph and Mary pray and ponder. They protect Jesus from Herod. For the gift of Jesus was God’s promise to the world, and they knew what they had to do.

How can we now, in our lives again, value this God-given gift as did the three kings and the shepherds? What do we have to do?

Through this gracious time filled with love, let us not forget him who brings joy to this world. Let us continue to prepare ourselves as we wait for Christmas – like our parents in faith – the kings and the shepherds. They waited actively for the Lord Jesus.

Many of us find it hard to wait. We are either overwhelmed or squashed by the daily demands placed upon us. Words like “waiting” and “pondering” seem to be frightening when we enter deeply into ourselves. Yet, despite that, in Advent we are invited to wait, to ponder, to be ready to receive what our world cannot give: God’s gift, Jesus Christ.

Ms Puleng Matsaneng

Puleng works in Spirituality and researches Ignatian Spirituality in an African context. Her area of speciality is in exploring how African themes and practices of spirituality dialogue with the Western traditions, and how that is understood in relation to Ignatian Spirituality. She has looked at how Ignatian Spirituality can be integrated into the African worldview. Most especially, how the use of song and storytelling can be part of the prayer process. She is currently managing retreats in daily life and training prayer guides. Puleng is also involved in ongoing Spiritual Direction, giving 8-day and 30-day retreats. Her latest venture is a pilot programme of healing workshops that use the principles of Ignatian Spirituality.
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