Waiting Room

Advent is a waiting room
in a world where there is
so little room for waiting.

disconnection
on hold
adrift
passive
done unto
…everything that is contrary
to the zeitgeist of
our egocentric gravity

Ignore the diversions of triviality
Listen
Be still

Love and truth and hope speak out
in the mists of prophets
discounted and marginalised – voices
that cut to the bone
of our fragile, arrogant flesh.

We miss the glory,
enchanted by the mirror
of importance and pleasure.

There is a greater joy and purer light
that lies in a different reflection:
we look but we do not see,
we hear but never resonate
with heaven’s promise and
simple treasure.

God is coming – and has come – in
fragility and vulnerability:
it is only in waiting,
in making room –
disarming the defences
of our ambient power –
that we can be free and be found
by the future
born in
Bethlehem.

Veni, veni Emmanuel.

© Neil Thompson 2020

Advent Waiting ~ an incomplete truth?

Is all our living a time of waiting?
Each moment incomplete and always borne
by time’s ceaseless flow?

We make ourselves complete in our incompleteness
by being at the centre and recalibrating all else.

The past is irretrievable and as good as fiction:
all that you need is me in the present moment
and the future can be mine…

But it’s not true. The future might not be mine
because I might not be the future.
If flesh and blood, the pulse of being,
passes away, what is left?

Does anything mean anything?
The meaning is hidden, beyond us,
and yet within us.

The other has made us:
the other is the mystery
that defies my mortality
and will come

in time
in humility
in birth
in love
in death.

Advent: the days of the year grow shorter
and the nights longer
yet in the dark a light has shone
and it comes always
now
and has a name
a hand to take us and lead us.

There is no waiting for this truth,
this completeness.

Hold out your hand;
open your mind and heart;
let go.
The waiting is filled
with hope
and faith
and love.

© Neil Thompson 2019

Dare to stop

Stop!
Look? Listen? No –
Wait!

Advent is the time of waiting.
We rarely choose it
for waiting teaches us
we are subject to time.

We invent the clock,
the measure
but the power is beyond us.

Time embodies mystery
and brings change
with glimpses of memory and expectation.
Stop and we might experience the beyond.

Advent is the threshold of God’s coming in time.
Am I too busy and important to stop?
It is control and complacency that
corrode our souls and darken the glimpse of glory.

The journey of wonder lies in the waiting;
we reach Bethlehem by stopping.
Even a heartbeat can drown out
the song of the angels.

Stop.
Think too much
and the world floods back in.
The everything of God
is born in the poverty
of Bethlehem and me.

Empty is

the altar;
the manger;
the cross

– until He comes.

© Neil Thompson 2018

Deep in our hearts God's truth is born

Metre: 87 98 87Besancon

Deep in our hearts God’s truth is born,
Gift of grace and light of dawn;
When days are short the night is bringing
Peace to earth and angels’ singing.
God’s gift is wrapped in Advent days
Wait, be still, to learn love’s ways.

Heaven breaks in to change each day:
Love is formed in human clay.
God is the gift: the one who’s giving
Breath to dust in mortal living.
God’s gift is wrapped in Advent days
Wait, be still, to learn love’s ways.

When it is hard to trust the love
Hid – beyond, below, above:
Here is a gift that’s like no other –
God in Jesus is our brother.
God’s gift is wrapped in Advent days
Wait, be still, to learn love’s ways.

Fear, doubt and loss grip every mind –
Peace and truth are hard to find.
Great is God’s gift when life is ended:
All that’s broken then is mended.
God’s gift is wrapped in Advent days
Wait, be still, to learn love’s ways.

Judgment and death bring pain and fear;
God is born to share each tear.
Love reaches out to meet our crying
Through our birth and in our dying.
God’s gift is wrapped in Advent days
Wait, be still, to learn love’s ways.

© Neil Thompson 2012

Advent Hymn 2003

Metre: Long MetreTune: Winchester New

The days that lead to Christmastide
Are filled with voices that have cried:
The present meets the coming age
As Christ draws near in scripture’s page!

We need to stop to hear this call
And let our false defences fall.
Each passing age deceives and kills
God’s gentle word with selfish thrills.

These Advent days need peace and calm
To see below the lure and harm
Of living for ourselves alone
And placing pleasure on self’s throne.

The road that led to Bethlehem
Took Mary’s child, of Jesse’s stem,
To stable, cross and poverty
In sharing our humanity.

Prepare us, Lord, that you may find
A church renewed in heart and mind –
So Christ will live for all to see
In faith and hope and charity.

© Neil Thompson 2003

Advent Hymn

Metre: 87 87 47Tune: Helmsley

Hid within our daily living
God’s pure light and glory burn;
By his Spirit ever giving
Meaning to each change and turn.
Now in Jesus
Comes the truth that all can learn.

Prophets’ words and Bible stories
Turn our thoughts and hearts to God:
Look beyond time’s passing glories –
To the ways that truth has trod.
God incarnate,
Rule our world with love’s true rod!

Wars and conflicts never ending
Shake our world from age to age.
God now to his children sending
Peace to quell our selfish rage.
Holy Saviour
Walks with us through history’s page.

Death and judgement, hell and heaven:
Advent speaks its truth today.
At the end of time come seven
Angels of th’eternal day:
Jesus mercy,
Save us at the last, we pray!

Christ in glory, draw creation
Into one – as God is one:
To the Father, adoration,
With the Spirit and the Son!
Praise and glory –
Now the Kingdom has begun!

© Neil Thompson 2002