Habakkuk is waiting for utter calamity to fall on his town. The signs are all there, the end of the world is nigh. When our world falls apart, the fact that normal life is continuing elsewhere can be incredible. I remember being part of a funeral a couple of years ago which required an unusual degree of planning with external authorities, which divided time into things which happened before it, and things which happened after. As I drove home immediately after, I was mildly surprised to find that the traffic lights were working, and downright shocked to see the shops were open. My world had shrunk to a particular point in time and place.
Advent is about watching and waiting, not only to remember the Incarnation, when Jesus was born, but also the second coming of the Messiah, which Christians believe will signify the end of this age and of this world. There are plenty of people (and websites) which are quite happy to predict precisely when this will happen. But endings tend to be unexpected – even when we watch at a deathbed, we cannot be sure which will be the last breath. All we can do is wait, and see what befalls.But waiting isn’t always quite as passive as it sounds…..