I lurve a good bargain! Ask any of my friends! I just can’t resist the opportunity to haggle – forgetting I’m on the High Street, UK – not in India!
I know that some of you out there will understand! There’s nothing quite like the adrenaline rush you get from buying an item for less than half price, is there? Holding out for the right moment, then snapping it up! Admittedly, I have sometimes had to wait for my ‘bargain buys’ – finally getting to ‘style’ them out, 2 seasons later – oh well, better late than never I say!
Getting a good deal, requires expert project management skills! It’s a piece of work that requires high level planning, preparation, research, strategy, risk, active engagement, persuasion, holding your nerve, stepping up, speaking out – regardless of the consequences, or what others think of you! Phew! Being prepared to be the lone voice often.. because I believe in what I’m saying, doing – even if others think I’m bonkers!
And yes. I do this regularly. It’s not just a seasonal activity and it’s not just related to fashion either! Picture a large 10kg bag of brown rice, chapatti flour, furniture – get the picture?
Yet… am I as proactive in other areas of my life when it comes to making a case, taking a stand, giving a response and taking responsibility for my sister or my brother – whoever they may be, wherever they are located?
Am I prepared to really listen and pay attention to the challenge from the Prophets during Advent – who remind me to wait, prepare but also to not be passive and sit back while I wait? Do I listen to the call to care for those who are poor and oppressed? Do I act on the demand made of me, to be an advocate for justice?
Advent is the season of preparation, a time of inward reflection, as we journey towards Christmas Day and celebrate the birth of Jesus. It’s a season where we are called as followers of Jesus, to ‘take time out’ from the extroverted frenzy of the society we live in – but to also actively engage.
We are reminded of our call to be advocates for justice – wherever our location. Responding when our colleagues are being victimised, bullied, harassed because of their ethnicity, gender, beliefs. Responding when cliques develop and isolate individuals and communities, on the basis of difference.
Looking back, have I colluded through silence, observing ‘bad behaviour’, allowing poor judgement calls to be taken, because I’m too afraid to say anything? Would people know what I stand for, my values, who I follow? Would people know that the mandate to advocate on behalf of others, is God’s own initiative and one I’m committed to live out? Would people know that I am commanded and empowered to change the world order? Would others see this through my words and actions? Would you recognise my cooperation with God’s purposes, of righting wrongs?
Do I engage with God’s purposes, with the enthusiastic ‘adrenalin’ rush of a bargain hunter, or have I abdicated my responsibility – nowhere to be seen or heard, no attempts made to eliminate evil and wrong doing in the world? Will I be an advocate, a history changer, a culture changer? Or is there a void waiting to be filled?
I pray that in this season of Advent we will all pay attention to the Prophets, and engage in counter-cultural activity wherever we live, work, play and pray.
To all followers and advocates of God’s purposes, may you courageously and confidently live out the hope, peace, joy and love of Christ both in this season and beyond.