First Sunday of Advent
Advent is a time for believing in the unbelievable and expecting the unexpected. In this weary world a new voice will be heard. A voice that gives hope; a voice that will bring good news to those who are willing to hear. Patience in paradox is the experience of Advent. It is the paradox that our humanity can be godlike and God can be expressed through what is human. 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. We can live in hope. We can bring into our Advent reflections the needs of this earth, the cries of the hungry, the suffering, the poor and the oppressed, the pain of all who are lonely and unloved, the longing among all for unity and goodwill, and the yearnings of earth’s people for peace. Advent calls us to be patient in the darkness even as we work to enflesh the promise that the light of Jesus Christ brings: that all people and all things exist in unity and peace in God.
What does Advent mean for you? Is it just a time to do frenzied Christmas shopping?
What is the meaning under all this?
Create an Advent wreath to ritualize these weeks of Advent. Let it be a reminder for you to reflect on the deeper reasons and values you hold that underlie the demands made on you as you prepare for Christmas.
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the
house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous
Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by
which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”
The season of Advent restores a hope which does not disappoint for it is founded on God’s Word. A hope which does not disappoint, simply because the Lord never disappoints! Let us think about and feel this beauty.
One of the essential paradoxes of Advent is that while we wait for God, we are with God all along, that while we need to be reassured of God’s arrival, or the arrival of our homecoming, we are already at home. While we wait, we have to trust, to have faith, but it is God’s grace that gives us that faith. As with all spiritual knowledge, two things are true, and equally true, at once. The mind can’t grasp paradox; it is the knowledge of the soul.
Michelle Blake, The Tentmaker
We are called to be witnesses of God’s by the love we extend to others; precursors of his justice by our unfailing commitment to what is right and good; lamps reflecting the light of God’s Christ in our forgiveness, mercy and compassion; harvesters of souls through our humble and dedicated servanthood.
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.
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.
When Christ entered our world, he didn’t come to brighten our Decembers, but to transform our lives.
Let’s approach Christmas with an expectant hush, rather than a last-minute rush.