This is the script of this morning’s Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2’s Zoe Ball Breakfast Show (with Gary Davies in the chair).

So, we start this week with new Covid restrictions – just at the point when we were hoping to emerge into a brighter world. And, yet again, we have to learn to wait for the day when the misery will – somehow – pass. In the meantime, the uncertainty drags on – perhaps inviting us to learn that this is normal for most people on this small blue planet.

It’s perhaps fitting, then, that today marks the twentieth anniversary of the death of George Harrison and this month the anniversary of his great post-Beatles album All Things Must Pass. He got it, didn’t he? Everything is transient, everything changes, seasons come and go. You can’t come to terms with living and losing, longing and … er … laughing without accepting first that all things must indeed pass.

For me this is built in to the rhythm and seasons of the year. Yesterday marked the start of Advent in the Christian calendar. What now follows is a rather weird exercise in learning to wait (as if we don’t know what’s coming) whilst actually knowing how the story goes. That the people have been waiting for centuries for God to come among them again: praying, longing, looking for signs. They try to make sense of their story in the light of what is happening now, but it doesn’t seem to compute. Then a baby is born in Bethlehem and the world is taken by surprise.

But, and this is the point, we don’t know that yet – not in Advent. So, we Christians try to re-live that waiting experience, trying to be open to being surprised when Christmas eventually comes – that God’s coming could have been a bit more impressive … than a mere baby born in an obscure village in a corner of the Middle East.

And that’s the point. As the Welsh poet RS Thomas put it: “The meaning is in the waiting.” In other words – and for a generation that wants everything now: Advent slows us down, makes waiting active and not empty, and leaves us open to surprise.

All things must indeed pass, George, but the story ends with a comma and not a full stop.

This is the script of this morning’s Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2’s Breakfast Show with Zoe Ball.

This has been a great last month for me with a new album by Imelda May and Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday (which doesn’t seem to have cheered him up at all). Then, this week one of my best bands, Crowded House, released ‘Dreamers are Waiting’. The problem with this album is that it makes me want to listen to the whole back catalogue stretching into the mid-1980s.

The title itself is evocative. Every generation needs dreamers – people who can see beyond the immediate challenges and imagine a different world in the future; people who  don’t agree that we just have to accept the way the world is now, but envisages something better. And, as the album title suggests, dreamers have to have the patience to wait and work for that future, not just stamp their feet when they don’t get immediate satisfaction.

One of the songs on the album goes even deeper. ‘Love isn’t hard at all’ is a beautiful song, but – and maybe this was the intention – the sentiment struck me as wrong. Love is hard. To love someone means to put them and their interests first. The Beatles knew that “you can’t buy me love” – it’s a relationship to be struck, not a commodity to be acquired.

Actually, the song goes on to get it right. “It feels like love isn’t hard at all” – I get that. When all is well or romance is high, loving feels easy. But, love demands more than sentiment or casual ease … as anyone who has ever loved another person knows all too well. Love is costly; love, as the Apostle Paul reminds us in a letter often read at weddings, “is patient, love is kind, … is not envious or boastful or arrogant, … it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”

So, to go full circle, love lies at the heart of patient dreaming, too. Love draws us into a place of openness and vulnerability, a place where others might ridicule us or call us naive for our longing for mercy.

In other words, love hurts, but is worth the cost. So, I’m going to dream on and learn to wait.

This is the text of this morning's Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2's Chris Evans Show. He has a Beatles theme running through the week, so I thought I'd start there…

Listening to all this Beatles stuff reminds me of a rather weird surprise I once had in the mountains of southern Kazakhstan. Having finished some meetings with world religious leaders in the city of Almaty, we were driven up into the Alatau Mountains for a posh dinner to recover. As we turned a corner and emerged from the forest into the restaurant car park we were confronted by a bronze statue of … er … the Beatles. I've got a photo of it somewhere. I wouldn't have been surprised to find Ghengiz Khan, but Ringo Starr was a bit of a shock.

What I think is remarkable about this is that the Beatles made the ordinary extraordinary. I grew up near Penny Lane – just an ordinary area where I went to get my hair cut or to see the doctor. But, wherever you go in the world now people know about Penny Lane and the blue suburban skies.

The trouble with the ordinary becoming extraordinary is that we build up an image that ceases to relate to reality – as if there is some golden aura of sacred specialness hovering around the bus shelter in the middle of the roundabout. But, it is never like that – despite the exclamations of tourists staring at the barber shop whenever I take people there.

The 'ordinary' is where most of us actually live. Life carries on and all the regular routines of daily business just grind on… without us ever thinking that the familiar lamppost down the road might become famous.

And, given that surveys keep telling us how young people in Britain dream of being famous – for the sake of being famous, presumably – a reminder that life is lived in the ordinary things might not be out of order. Jesus spoke of being faithful in the little things, if we want to be trusted with the big stuff – and he should know, cos the whole point of him being here was for God to become ordinary right where we are.

Imagine that! Or, should I say, “Amen to that!”? (Which, of course, means “Let it be”.)