Season of Advent

Entering Advent
Come to hear your heart’s desires
Birthing love for all

Haiku by Cathy Johnson
Presbyterian Minister
Dominican Associate
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

 

Reflections celebrated on Sundays and special feasts during this holy Season of Advent will be found under Scriptural Reflections.  http://www.dominicancenter.org/spirituality/scriptural-reflections/

 

 

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