This weekend is the First Sunday of Advent. The readings can be found here. Advent is often thought of as a time of watching and waiting. That is true and the readings the next four weeks highlight themes from the Hebrew Bible where God’s chosen people waited many centuries for a savior (and the savior was very different than they imagined!). However, another theme throughout the Hebrew Bible is that God was always with his people. He never abandoned them despite their turning away from him time and time again.
These themes give me comfort. In my own life, I have turned away from God many times. Ultimately “God’s wrath” (perhaps better described as the karmic justice of my turning away from ultimate love and beauty) reminds me that I have strayed. It is comforting to know that God is patiently there waiting for me with open arms, healing my wounds and asking me to help him build his Kingdom.
This week’s reflection is from Joan Blandin Howard of Creighton University Online Ministries. Ms. Howard talks about how Advent is an opportunity to not wait for God but an opportunity to find God in every moment. You can find the full reflection here but set forth below is an excerpt:Jo
The Church teaches that Advent is a time of waiting, anticipation, expectation, joy and preparation for the coming of Jesus, the promised messiah. A season of looking forward to something wonderful – the promise of the ages. And so it is.
But, is there something missing in this picture?
There is a lovely book written specifically for pregnant women. Fathers also can’t put it down. It is captivating and fascinating. It is a day-by-day description, verbal and pictorial, of the physical development of a human fetus in utero. Today, the fetus has a heart. Today, the fetus has a stomach. Today, she has fingernails. Today, he has teeth buds. Today, my child has a nose. Today, our child has eyes. I wonder what color they are. Then ears, and a mouth. Hair! Hope ours has lots of it! Second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, month by month these two are coming to be whom God from all time has desired them to be. He, she, they are slowly coming – to be. With the company of this book, the mother, the parents can live in the moment with their coming to be child, the child they co-created with God. The can hardly wait. They are invited, called to be present in the wait. Invited to live life, to experience God in every moment of the wait. There is no waiting for something better.
I know Christmas is coming, but not today. Today offers (at least here in North America) snowmen, snowballs and hot chocolate with marsh-mellows. Today offers Christmas tree decorating, cookie baking, maybe gift-wrapping. Today, I am invited to bake for the homeless shelter. Today, I am invited to decorate a tree in the nursing home, to visit the children’s hospital. Today, I’m invited to play with our grandchildren, sit with a dying friend. Today, I am invited to be, to live in the wait. To live in this moment. Not to wait for something better.
In every line extending from every checkout counter, every bus stop, every waiting room, every restroom there is Presences in the wait. There is a gift, an invitation, a moment to behold – God is. God is intimately present in every second of the wait. There is nothing better.
To wait is to stand in reverence and awe of the present, of the Presence. God lives only in the present. God knows no time. It is I who live in the confines of time, not God. It is I who am bound by the past and lured by the future. God is and gives only in the present. There is nothing better.
The good-news: there is nothing better than to live in God, in the present! There is no waiting here. Maybe I could say Advent is a season of Awareness. A season to practice awareness, noticing and being present to God. God is present to me and among us now. How could I better spend my time in this season of Advent?