Transition, Change and Advent

The Macquarie dictionary describes ‘transition’ as ‘passage from one position, state, stage, etc., to another’. When I think of the word “transition”, the word, “change”, comes to mind. How do we cope in times of change and upheaval? The Australian singer Sam Sparro in his 2008 song titled ‘21st Century life’ describes his feelings of being confounded by change.

“When I was a little boy living in the last century
I thought about living in the future then it occurred to me
I turned around the future was now, the future was all around me
Nothing like I had imagined, it was totally confounding
21st century life, I got swept away
I got 21,000 things that I gotta do today
21st century life, well what can I say?
The new world’s got me feeling so dirty
Think I need to get down and play”.


On his reasons for the song, Sparro is quoted as saying “I’m saying: ‘When I was a little boy living in the last century, I thought about living in the future.’ And then I thought, this is the future. Things have changed so quickly. When my grandmother was born, there were two billion people and now it’s six-and-a-half. We’re using up our resources and we’re growing and building and working. Everyone’s stressed and I guess the world is just boiling, boiling, boiling out of control.” (Ibid)

I like how Sparro recognises his need to “get down and play”. In other words, he feels duty bound to engage, contribute with and be part of the changing world. The season of Advent remind us as we await the coming of Jesus into our lives, it doesn’t mean Christians stop engaging in and for the world. Advent is the assurance of the ongoing presence of the divine despite the upheavals change may bring. The lyrics of a familiar hymn are helpful.

“Through all the changing scenes of life,
in trouble and in joy,
the praises of my God shall still
my heart and tongue employ.”
Of his deliverance I will boast,
till all that are distressed,
when learning this, will comfort take
and calm their griefs to rest.”

(Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady-Together in Song, 112)

Peace and grace to you in our Advent journey.