2nd December 2020

Today we entered Tier 3. Not sure we will notice a huge difference. It still means restrictions on life. A lack of the freedom we have taken for granted. As time goes by it begins to feel more normal. Which begs the question, what is ‘normal’? Is it measured by the regularity of what we do? Is it a communal decision that sets what is counted as ‘normal’? You can often hear the words ‘whatever normal is!’

Maybe ‘normal’ is whatever any individual chooses and lives by, and anything else is considered ‘different’ and therefore to be suspicious of, or threatened by, or curious about. Normal is the majority and anything else is the minority. Normal is the way we are controlled. Abnormal to be feared.

Freedom is not normal. We’re never completely free. We have taxes to pay, laws to abide by, times that are set by others. We have others to consider in our lives, not least their desires and decisions. We are tiered by others and it is not normal.

In the church calendar of time Advent is not normal time. It’s not free of purpose. It’s there to help us anticipate the presence of God coming into our lives. It cannot be normal for the world to be this broken, for communities to be this divided, and then what too of our hearts? Advent invites us to anticipate a way through the darkness towards life shaped by the way of Jesus in whose presence freedom is to be found. Through Advent, can we find celebration, and our way back to normal time?

Rachel Haig