This is a repost of a blog series I did in 2003. The theme for Advent 2 was "STRETCH."
"STRETCH" - what the word means is to make room, to change yourself so that you can accomodate or connect with something else -- something that, before you stretched yourself, was formerly too much, too far, or too unusual. Christ born in poverty was a stretch for some people. God born at all is a stretch for more.
The first glimmer of the stretch in U2, for me, is 11 o'clock Tick Tock (which qualifies here for its very Adventy title, too.) They're what, 18 or 19 as they write these almost inane words?
It's all hints, with U2 lyrics this early... but when I listen, I imagine the very beginning as setting up a conflict that endures for the rest of the song: "It's cold outside, but it gets so hot in here." Inside, the "boys and girls collide" to music you're offering them so they can escape from the outside world, where you know perfectly well "the children [are] crying"; shouldn't a moral person be telling the crowd that "it's time to go" do something about their plight because "we haven't long"?
That is the stretch that is at the heart of the U2 vocation -- having a heart for rock 'n' roll at the same time you have a heart for God's heart. Continually stretching to make room for both is, IMHO, a large part of how this band stays so fresh. And it does keep you on your toes, after all, to repeatedly discover -- and shouldn't this be true for all of us, now and again -- that all you can say for yourself is
We thought that we had the answers;
it was the questions we had wrong.