We welcome the season of Advent in a different way this year. It is a new time, a new moment, a new opportunity to reflect again in this season of waiting and anticipation, of longing and expectation -a season that in some way captures a life-time where we are continually waiting to become, to discover, to hope. So, we keep watch, this time of preparation, of waiting, praying that God’s advent might happen in the day to day moments of our lives, when the ordinary becomes the extraordinary. In a way, our lives are one Advent experience.
Advent gifts us with a moment of silence; a quiet place within ourselves, untouched by the demands of busyness; a place that is capable of wonder; a profound experience of my place before God, of where I am before this God. This mystery of waiting for God leads us to a deeper awareness and a deeper consciousness of who God is in my life. Let us allow this to happen to us this Advent. The poet, Mary Oliver, invites us to
“Look! For most of the world
Hummingbird pauses at the trumpet vine
Advent challenges us to give thanks, to give from our place of abundance, to be generous, connected and involved. One way of celebrating is to light an advent light each day at prayer that will in some way reflect the light we seek in our hearts as we move towards God revealed in Jesus at Christmas. The Advent liturgy points us towards that arrival day, a time to welcome new life, a new-born infant. We all know the excitement that goes with that. Nothing is ever the same as a result of this event. If our hearts remain open in creative expectation to the coming of –‘Emmanuel, God with us’ – then, all our longings, all our desires are met in this experience. All is possible.
Let us strive to open our hearts to the stirring of hope. Advent invites us to an on-going movement of transformation. The times we live in, – in Religious Life, in our countries, in our world, on our planet are, maybe, God’s way of offering us an opportunity to reflect and to find new ways of embracing life and of placing our trust in the real gift of God “if you but knew the gift of God and who it is that is offering it to you” (Jn 4.)
Let us see Advent as an adventure into God, to search to be creative, to be surprised, and to discover a new beginning, perhaps a different way of celebrating the presence of God in our lives. Let our experience of emptiness; of hunger for God be filled by enlarging our hearts to make more and more room for God in our lives.
When we are faithful to this season something wonderful will happen for us – we will truly be “Centred in the God of Mercy”.
Coirle McCarthy rsm