Thus begins the last line of the first verse of the Advent hymn- Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers. It is a song of waiting and preparation based on the parable of the virgins waiting for the coming of the bridegroom. Some were "foolish" and weren't prepared when the groom finally arrived and they ended up on the outside.
Those words struck me last week during our Advent Lessons and Carols. They are blunt, quick, and basic words. There's no deep theology hidden in them. Sure they aren't words from scripture, but they are words that call our attention to Jesus.
- Up- Don't just sit around. Do something. Move. Get your work done.
- Pray- Keep in contact with God. Don't allow the waiting to pull you away from God's presence.
- Watch- Be alert. Be mindful. There may be (and probably are) many signs of the coming of the Savior. Don't miss them.
- Wrestle- Uh, wait a minute. What is wrestling doing here in this list of Advent tasks?
And what we often discover is the same humility, awe, and power that Mary proclaimed in her magnificent song.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel,
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.
To which we can only add:
In the name of the Father who created us;
the Son who brought us salvation
and the Holy Spirit who sustains us.