ADVENT - Thoughts on its meaning

 

ADVENT

 

A CANDLE OF HOPE IN OUR WORLD

 

ADVENT is loaded with promises for a future we already have. It is a season in which we are all invited to open up so as to be filled with the spiritual riches it holds. God promised to be with us always – as the One who saves, as the One who always calls us back into intimate communion with each other and with God, as the one who knows our depths and longs that we know fullness of joy and peace.  How can this not be? God’s ancient name is ‘Redeemer’.

 

To experience this and the deeper meaning of Advent we are called to slow down, to quieten our pace, to make time, to wait with patience, not passively but a waiting filled with the miracle of change and transformation. BUT we are not good at the practise of waiting.  All and everything is caught up in the fast lane. Advent may well be a ‘holiday’ season but is any other liturgical season so filled with stress, with shopping, with celebrating, and holidaying?  This freneticism affects our ability to be mindful; our listening is dulled and we become incapable of hearing any voice within.  Thus the feeling we know as Christmas cheer lacks any real connection to the vital spirit that radiates from the mystery – God – in our midst as a baby in a manger.

 

True Advent heralds this momentous occasion, a time of great rejoicing – our redeemer has come to save us – glad tidings indeed.  YET this generosity and love of God is not just a matter of glad tidings.  Those who live consciously, this announcement of ‘glad tidings’, can also be a ‘frightening’ knowledge. God is filled with compassion and mercy but God is also a burning fire whose light reveals every shadow,floods every hidden space and turns midnight into noon. This love reveals sin and, with our cooperation, overcomes it.  It conquers darkness with blazing light and with a two edged sword ‘scatters the proud, humbles the mighty, feeds the hungry, and sends the rich away empty-handed’. (Lk 1: 51-53)

 

We long for light, we long for our world to find integrity and healing; justice and peace and the only way to find that freedom and wholeness is to allow God, whose ancient name is ‘Redeemer,’  to unlock our stubborn mindsets, to strengthen us to risk everything for freedom and a new beginning.

 

Within the manger lies a child, but also the cross – the hope of redemption and of resurrection. This requires reverence and humility and above all faith.  Should we decide to take time, every day this Advent season, to reflect on this mystery, the candle of hope will become a flame of fire igniting deep hope, faith, joy and life for everyone in the world.

 

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