One of the things I love about the liturgical life of the church is the way that the Holy Spirit, quietly and gently, works on us. Through the texts and prayers set out each year in the lectionary the Spirit draws us ever more fully into the Presence. If we read the texts in a literalistic manner, it can sound as though week by week it is God who is undergoing change toward us. In fact, however, in the liturgy of the Presence it is we who are worked on through the scriptures and the prayers, we who get to be reconfigured and brought into the life of the changeless One. At Advent, it begins again: the cycle by which God breaks through the clutter of our lives to announce to us that the Presence is very near, irrupting into our midst, hauling us out of our myths, our half-truths and the ways we have settled for what is religious rather than what is holy, alive and real. So lest we be tempted to think that Advent is merely a religious warm-up for Christmas, let us see if we can allow ourselves to be brought near the cold-water spigot whose splashes can chasten us into reality.