An Advent Reflection by The Very Revd Nicholas Papadopulos, Dean of Salisbury.
Luke 1:8-12 Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him.
For Zechariah it’s another day at the office. He’s a temple priest. It’s what he does. And it’s his turn to be on duty. Nothing strange or unfamiliar about that. He’s done it a thousand times before. The incense is offered. The prayers begin. In he goes. And…and…and? God’s messenger confronts him. Heaven comes down to earth. The extremely ordinary becomes extremely extraordinary. Zechariah is scared witless. An angel. Here. Now. Right in the middle of the familiar, right in the middle of the everyday. Here. Now.
What’s the familiar place that you’re going to today? The office? The classroom? The kitchen? Remember Zechariah, and look out for the angel. Because God may turn up. Today. In a place you know.
It’s here that counts, and now that counts. Not somewhere, maybe, or whenever. This Advent look out for the angel.
God, open my eyes to the here and now. Here and now you speak to me; here and now you love me. Help me to remember you, to listen for you, to watch for you. Here and now. In the middle of all the other stuff. Here and now. Amen.
Take a look at your diary for today. Identify the most familiar, routine thing that you will be doing. Make a note alongside that diary entry: “Look Out For Angels”.
-The Very Revd Nicholas Papadopulos, Dean of Salisbury
You can read all of the Advent Reflections via the following link – Advent Reflections 2019.