An Nontraditional Advent Meditation
The Incarnation of God began billions of years ago when the earliest forms of matter were ignited and began the vast cosmic expansion that is home to us all today.
Billions of years passed as God patiently worked, preparing creation to bring forth the divinely human Jesus. When that work was complete, in the sacred Fullness of Time, there was an eternally important but little noticed event in which, as Elizabeth Johnson noted,
“Real blood was shed at this delivery, by a poor woman of peasant society far from home,
laboring in childbirth for the first time. And it was holy.”
The centuries since Jesus began to open our eyes to our deeper humanly divine reality have witnessed God quietly continuing to develop the Incarnation slowly among us, building communities of trust and hope that may one day evolve with our help into a world of peace with justice and love for all. On that day, conscious of the divine life we each embody, we will embrace God within and among us all.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin reminds us:
“Above all trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally, impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We would like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient on the way to something unknown,
And yet it is made by passing through stages of instability
And that may take a very long time. . . .
Only God can say what this new spirit
forming within you will be.
Give the Lord the benefit of believing
that His hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
In suspense and incomplete.”
James E. Hug, S.J.
Winter Sky by Marcy Leigh
Come to hear your heart’s desires
Birthing love for all
December 2, 2015
There is no doubt that Advent can be a busy time. There are cards to write, presents to buy, parties to attend, and the days are adorned with decorations, baking, and visiting with friends. There are also many twinkling lights decorating homes because the days are darker and colder as we approach the winter solstice in this hemisphere. Advent can be a flurry of activity.
Yet as people of faith, we are aware that Advent is a sacred time. Advent is a season of hope, of expectation, and of peace. There is a poem by Ann Weems (Kneeling in Bethlehem) that says:
“Those who wait for God watch with their hearts and not their eyes,
Listening, always listening”.
During Advent, we are called to participate in the silence of the season. So, it is important that we take time apart to contemplate and to wait in prayer that we may grow in awe of the Incarnational mystery that Advent heralds.
Advent is a time of hope. In this world of so many troubles, violence, and neglect of the marginalized, hope can be difficult. I suspect that it is partly because in the wake of the unrest in our cultural and political lives, we can easily see the “glass as half empty” and so we may confuse hope with optimism. We hear voices saying that all will be well and yet somehow that seems too simple and we want to be realistic.
But it is important, especially at this time, to remember that hope is not optimism, rather it is a theological virtue. Hope is the heart’s assent to the reality that God is present in our lives and our world. God is at work among us, that is the meaning of the Incarnation and the foundation for hope.
There is a song by Carey Landry (Dance in the Darkness) with these words in the refrain:
“Dance in the darkness, slow be the pace.
Surrender to the rhythm of redeeming grace”.
These words can be a guide for Advent prayer. We need to slow our pace in order to listen and watch with our hearts. We need to slow our pace in order to appreciate the gifts of the darkness – what better image for mystery. We need to slow our pace to recognize God’s rhythm of redeeming grace. We need to slow our pace to allow Advent to bless us, to birth us, and to remind us that Christmas is not one particular day but rather it is the present moment.
And about hope, that is the Dance!
Karen Rossman, OP
Throughout this sacred season, there will be various offerings for your reflection and prayer. The first is a Friar’s homily for the 1st Sunday of Advent
The Global Catholic Climate Movement is offering a free Advent Resource Kit which contains a creation-themed Advent calendar linked to the liturgical readings, a list of 5 ways to “green” Christmas, an Advent novena, and an ecological Advent coloring book.
GCCM also has presented a beautiful online daily Advent Calendar