As the days get shorter and the nights get longer we find ourselves once again in Advent. Advent brings a fresh start to the Church year and an invitation to enter into the silence and mystery of whatever is waiting to be born or reborn within us. It begins quietly, with the lighting of the first candle on the Advent wreath, calling us to learn more about ourselves and the God who loved us enough to become one of us and share our journey. We wait once again to meet the God who we find within our hearts.
In Advent we think differently about time. Although time is always relative, during Advent we live into the past, present and future. We remember the past, cherishing the prophetic words telling us about the Messiah who comes to bring reconciliation and peace into our world. On the last seven days before Christmas those who pray the Divine Office use the O Antiphons before the Magnificat at Vespers. The seven titles are all from the Book of Isaiah:
Dec. 17, O’ Sapientia (meaning O Wisdom), from Isaiah 11:2-3.
Dec. 18, O’ Adonai (O Lord or Ruler), Isaiah11:4-5 and 33:22.
Dec. 19, O’ Radix (O Root of Jesse), Isaiah 11:1.
Dec. 20, O’ Clavis (O Key of David), Isaiah 22:22.
Dec. 21, O’ Oriens (O Radiant Dawn), Isaiah 9:1.
Dec. 22, O’ Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), Isaiah2:4.
Dec. 23, O’ Emmanuel (O God with Us), Isaiah 7:14.
It is widely pointed out that if you take the first letter of each Latin name and reverse the order, i.e. begin with E from Emmanuel, then Rex Gentium and so on you will spell the word EROCRAS, which in Latin means “I am coming soon.”
In Advent, although we remember the past, it is important to stay in the PRESENT moment– that is where God is most tangible. It’s interesting that we talk about gifts we give to others as “presents” and we wrap them festively but we often forget that the biggest gift we have is the PRESENT—the moment we experience right now, wherever you are and whatever it is that you’re doing. In this present moment God is fully present to us. The present moment is the perfect moment. In that moment, if we slow down and open our hearts entering into the quiet, God waits there for us. In that space we wait in expectation, waiting for the miracle of birth, new life. We wait for the whisper of God. We wait in wonder and hope. God is in the waiting. Mary Craig, OSF allowed us to share her reflections from a time when she entered into that quiet and sacred place. It is entitled “Incarnation” and gently encourages us to accept the mysterious and loving invitation waiting there us.
Do not be afraid
to receive and accept
in the real and welcoming
darkness of Advent
where you can hear
the familiar story
full of grace and mystery
whispered once again
within your own womb
within your own words
within your own world
and the angels singing
Glory to God
within your own precious and simple
manger of ordinary…
Do not be afraid
of the truth of Incarnation….
Advent also brings us into the future filled with HOPE. In Advent we wait in hope with a longing that cries out for a more civilized and peaceful time for all of us, a longing within the desert of our hearts for the one without whom our hearts are restless, a longing to be at peace and whole, a longing to believe with every inch of our being that we are passionately loved by the God who comes, the one who loved us enough to become one of us and share our journey. Come, Lord Jesus, come into our hearts and into our troubled world.
And so this Advent we wait together. We wait in silence. We wait in hope. We encourage you to take some time to listen to this YouTube clip of Cary Landry’s song: Waiting in silence, waiting in Hope. As we wait, can we be the difference between what we experience in our world today and the beginning of Peace on earth, the difference between the darkness that exists and the light we can bring?
Advent is always about WAITING.
With Gratitude and Love!
The Staff of the Franciscan Spiritual Center