Well, Advent is here again & what a year it has been. This time last year we were looking forward to something approaching a ‘normal’ Christmas, & then back came a ‘lock-down’ not many days before the celebrations. What will this year bring? We can’t be sure, yet whatever does happen to our plans, we have got Advent – that is for sure. So over these next weeks let’s try to live Advent fully. Maybe you will be sharing our ‘zoomed’ reflections on the Sundays with a session each Tuesday to help us deepen those Reflections. I hope that what we send you on a Saturday will also feed your hearts, & help to make this time a memorable preparation for the great feast.
We think maybe it would be good to send fewer reflections so that we are not overloaded when the scriptures themselves are so rich & when we are doing the ‘zoomed’ reflections.
We’ll see how we go.
The Advent zoomed reflections on Sundays will replace our ‘on line Sunday Gospel sharing & Evening Prayer’ over the next four Sundays.
The blessing can be our prayer for each other, asking that meditating on Advent themes will bear much fruit in our everyday lives. It will be ‘Deep Peace’ from Sacred Pathways.
Deep peace of the running wave to you;
Deep peace of the flowing air to you;
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you;
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you;
Deep peace, deep peace.
This comes with our love & promise of prayer through Advent
On this First Sunday of Advent, we begin a new liturgical year. This season of Advent reminds us to be attentive of the various ways Jesus daily comes into our lives. However, the Gospel reading for this first Sunday of Advent is a bit unsettling. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars. And on earth, nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves!”
Jesus tells his disciples: “And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with great power and glory! Be attentive! These signs will tell you that your redemption is at hand!” He then cautions his disciples: “Do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness or the anxieties of daily life. If you do so, that day may catch you by surprise!” Jesus’ words are spoken in an urgent tone of voice. Clearly he hopes we will be alert and awake to his coming, not only at the “end of time” but today and every day.
Given the busyness of our daily lives, it is easy to “become drowsy” to Jesus’ coming. Often there is much to be done and not enough time to do it. Yet, do we want to miss the ways Jesus may come to us? If, daily, we are attentive to Jesus’ presence with us, this daily attentiveness will ensure that we will be ready to meet him when we come to the end of our lives. Today be mindful of Jesus’ presence with you: in the laughter of a child, in the beauty of snow or simply in a quiet moment. He is always with us! However, often we are not present to Him!
During this season of Advent, here are some profound nuggets of truth I’m learning on a deeper level.
Advent is the time when we practice the discipline of waiting. We focus our attention on the hope to come. We set our hearts on God’s not-yet-seen promises rather than our unfulfilling circumstances in the present. We join the saints who even now are crying “How long?” before God’s ultimate Kingdom shows itself (Rev 6:10), longing for the world to be put to rights. We take the long view, keep our eyes on the big picture, and walk on.
Henri Nouwen in his writings points out that waiting is not doing nothing and twiddling our thumbs. Waiting is a vital,engaged, active stance we take in the life of faith. It’s a matter of responding to God in the present—right here and now, in the wilderness—hearing and nourishing ourselves on the presence of Jesus. (Ps 27:14)
Henri Nouwen’s words drive this home. He describes waiting as “nurturing the moment.”