The prospect of the weekend is often filled with so much potential as we try to make time and catch up on other areas in our lives.
For some, Saturday and Sunday provide an opportunity for shopping, meeting friends, taking children to clubs and activities.
These are the occasions when families meet up, as friends and relatives return home for the weekend.
Of course there are those for whom the weekend offers no break and, with shift work or the reality of no work, each day is very much like any other.
I have to confess, Friday evening has always been a release valve as I meet up with family and friends, attend the Brandywell during the football season and spend time at home eating my parents out of house and home.
Last weekend everything was going smoothly.When I returned home I was greeted with a house in darkness which was unusual as my mother is a night owl.
I presumed she had gone to bed. This caused a dilemma; with my mother absent there was no-one to make supper. I could have made myself tea and toast but the New Year diet had started.
I keep being told bread is deadly for putting on weight. There was the added complication that the cupboards in the kitchen were too high but this would be a falsehood as my mother manages and I’m taller than her.
With these thoughts I retired to my bed exhausted. This next thing I heard was the bang and rattle at the bedroom door as the dog barged in.
In total contrast to me, the dog was bursting with life. To postpone the inevitable I started petting the dog before she jumped up onto the bed. At this her master stirred downstairs and I was soon forgotten as she exited the room again.
We can all hide in the routine of life from time to time, so much so that one week or weekend runs into another.
Caught in a rut or bogged down by routine we are no longer open to being surprised by life, no longer open to allowing God to appear through the tiniest of cracks which enable his light to bring hope and meaning.
There are occasions when we need prophets to appear on the horizon who can point out where God can be experienced in our lives.
People like John the Baptist who, in the depths of their hearts can recognize the Lamb of God who was sent to save God’s people from their sins.
The Baptist, through a life time of prayer and openness to God, was humble enough to recognize in Jesus his true identity as the son of God.
Through the gift of baptism we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit who opens our hearts to Jesus’ approach.
If we can create the space and time in our crowded lives then the Holy Spirit will help us to encounter Jesus as the one who saves.