Advent is my favorite season of the Church year. I like the countercultural feel of it that resists the rush around us and bids us slow down. Advent is about waiting on God. I like the season’s invitation to reflection, preparation and expectation of our Lord’s birth in Bethlehem, but even more for the promise of the healing of the nations, all held by God’s grace and the hope of a new heaven and a new earth.
We tend to race here and run there. None of us are immune. Years ago someone told me of an account from Woody Allen where a guy, having just finished a speed reading course, boasted at a cocktail party that he read War and Peace in twenty minutes. One of the people standing by asked him what the book was about. He replied, “Russia.” Advent confronts our lifestyle head on. Too often in our hurriedness we end up wanting the condensed version of everything, avoid thinking deeply and end up living as a caricature of ourselves, rather than the person and community God calls us to be.
As we scurry about it is all too easy to lose a sense of the sacred. If we are able to give ourselves to the Advent rhythm, allowing ourselves to be immersed in the beautifully haunting scriptures and music, the next four weeks could end up being a kind of protest in contrast to the culture around us. It can be good for our soul to resist the frantic pace swirling all about us and hold up the virtue of holy patience.
Once again we wait in hope for the fullness of what we have seen in the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. May we then be better prepared to sing with the angels in praise of the Anointed One who is the fulfillment of all our hopes and dreams. Perhaps we can then pray in the words of the seventh verse of “O come, O come, Emmanuel,”
O come, Desire of nations, bind in one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid thou our sad divisions cease, and be thyself our King of Peace.