First Sunday of Advent
Advent engages us in the mystery of waiting, the balance of the visible and invisible, the tangible and intangible, dormancy and life. We are approaching the winter solstice, the shortest day of our year, the day when the light and warmth of the sun is at its farthest distance from us– the beginning of winter. Yet, the next day, we begin to experience our journey back toward the sun, and, even as we face the barren, cold days of winter, little by little, the days become longer. For us, this patience in the paradox of distance and closeness, barrenness and fruitfulness, visible and invisible is the experience of Advent. It is the paradox that our humanity can be made godlike and God can be expressed through what is human. But, silence and patience are needed. There must be time to become aware, to be receptive to the generative touch of the Spirit at work in the deep places of ourselves, places we may hardly know. It is the vision of a creation that is whole and integrated – where our spirits are set free—our blindness, deafness, stumbling and violence are healed—and we live in hope, patient in the darkness even as we work in the promise that Jesus Christ will bring all people and all things into the unity and peace of God’s reign.
“A people in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:22). May these days of Advent open our eyes and minds to the light of truth and hope.
Reflect in your Advent prayer that the ‘wonderful exchange” continually takes place, that our God shares our human condition and that we are all caught up into God’s love and grace.
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.
O house of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord!
It is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.
For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed;
the night is advanced, the day is at hand.
The season of Advent means there is something on the horizon the likes of which we have never seen before… .What is possible is to not see it, to miss it, to turn just as it brushes past you. And you begin to grasp what it was you missed, like Moses in the cleft of the rock, watching God’s [back] fade in the distance. So stay. Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait. Behold. Wonder. There will be time enough for running. For rushing. For worrying. For pushing. For now, stay. Wait. Something is on the horizon.
Jan L. Richardson
Take time to be aware that in the very midst of our busy preparations for the celebration of Christ’s birth in ancient Bethlehem, Christ is reborn in the Bethlehems of our homes and daily lives. Take time, slow down, be still, be awake to the Divine Mystery that looks so common and so ordinary yet is wondrously present.
Every year we celebrate the holy season of Advent, O God. Every year we pray those beautiful prayers of longing and waiting, and sing those lovely songs of hope and promise.
The greatest gift you will ever receive will never be found under a Christmas tree. It is far too valuable to be stored in any other place but in the depths of your heart.
Christmas has lost its meaning for us because we have lost the spirit of expectancy. We cannot prepare for an observance. We must prepare for an experience.
Let’s approach Christmas with an expectant hush, rather than a last-minute rush.
When Christ entered our world, he didn’t come to brighten our Decembers, but to transform our lives.