The open door – 3 December 2018

From the inside of a house we look out through an open door. Two women are at the door, waiting. One is seated, looking out, her head resting on her hand. The second stands, waiting with her. Both women are calm and peaceful.
Outside the fully open door we can see the steps that lead away, and then a path beyond, out into the world. The picture offers us two views, one interior the other exterior. The direction of the floor-boards in the interior encourages our eye to run from the inside to the outside. We are invited to watch and wait with the women, to look out and imagine what will come. Who might come down this path? What might they bring from far away that would be so welcome in this house?
This picture, By the open door (1902-11), is by Nikolai Astrup, a Norwegian painter distinguished by his rich use of colour.
One Advent custom is to stand at an open door or window and look out. That quiet waiting can connect the longing in our own interior to God. We can then articulate what it is we hope for.

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

Lamentations 3:25

But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.

Micah 7:7

Now is the time of watching and waiting
A time pregnant with hope
A time to watch and pray.

Christ our Advent hope,
Remind us to prepare for your coming;
Remind us to prepare for this time
When the soles of your feet touch the ground,
When you will become one of us
To be a one with us.

May we watch for the signs,
Listen for the messengers,
Wait for the good news to slip
Into our world, our lives.
Christ our Advent hope,
Help us to clear the way for you;
To clear the clutter from our minds,
To sift the silt from our hearts,
To move the boulders that prevents us meeting you.

May sorrow take flight,
And your people sing a song of peace
And hope be born again.

Kate McIlhagga, Advent prayer