“Anything that can go wrong, probably will go wrong at the worst possible moment.” And the truth of “Murphy’s Law”, to use its polite name, has certainly been demonstrated for me, this past week!
Having no mains water, our home’s utterly dependent on two large underground tanks harvesting all available rain, and supplemented by the pool water when that’s no longer needed for swimming. A late half-term this year however, delayed normal closure of the pool until grandchildren had left, and consequent work preparing for the next guests, led to my missing the normal weekly routine of checking the tanks, resulting in loss of water supply just as the guests arrived!
So what normally takes just a few minutes to drain pool water into the tanks, required many hours of work cleaning and repairing valves and pump, choked with silt from the bottom of the tanks, just when I should have been playing host. How much effort and embarrassment could have been prevented by a little forethought, planning and preparation!
And I couldn’t help noticing the similarity between my situation and the story Jesus told of ten bridesmaids tasked with escorting the bridegroom to his wedding. Five, Jesus explained, had sense to bring spare oil for their lamps, so they were completely ready when the groom arrived in the middle of the night when it was dark. The other five, however, rather like myself, came unprepared so had to go and obtain fresh oil when he arrived, so were too late and therefore missed all the celebrations. And that story, told by Jesus, has particular significance at this time of year as we approach the season of Advent, which simply means “coming”. For Jesus taught that he would one day come back for a celebration with all who’ve lived, not particularly good or religious lives, but trusting him and keeping ready for that return. And his reference to needing spare oil was intended as a reminder to us all to keep ready, using Bible reading and prayer to keep in touch with him and keep our spiritual lights burning.
So this Advent, as we prepare ourselves for Christmas, let’s make sure we’re ready to meet him, however and whenever that may be.