We are once again invited to enter into and celebrate The Season of Advent. With this season, the new Liturgical year begins. Like the Celtic calendar, the liturgical calendar begins in the world of winter and darkness. The upon is not that where ALL life begins. We all emerge from the darkness of our mother's womb. Jesus, who became the Christ, shared the same journey as each one of us, and was born in the darkness of the night. He arose from the dead in the darkness before the dawn. Somehow, God has chosen that connection between darkness, birth and life and presented to us for our ongoing reflection. We can be sure that wherever there is darkness, then it contains the promise of new life, and new beginnings. This wisdom will not come to us in a day, a week, a year, we will be led to that by those who have gone before and left the promise, as their legacy. A legacy for you and I to claim, enjoy, and celebrate. A legacy whose value will not show up on our bank accounts. It is a legacy that enables us to live life and live it to the fullest. We are empowered to live our lives in love, and freedom. Is not this the deepest wish of all human beings?
So, we are again invited to enter this mysterious Season of Advent. We are gifted, again, with the invitation to enter into this time of longing, preparation, expectation, and, anticipation. We are asked to take the ordinary events of our lives, and see in them the means which afforded to God so He can prepare us in our own unique way for The Revelation. This Revelation, is our God taking on the human condition, so as to reveal to us in a very personal way, He is a God that is not a distant God. On the contrary, He is a God that is with us, He is Emmanuel. As He is revealed to us, so our God depends on you and I to reveal Him to those He will place on our paths. In that way, the Incarnation will be everlasting. It will be, as it is, eternal. This is all, mystery. A mystery that can never be solved, only entered into again and again. With each new encounter we are gentle led into an ever deepening knowledge and understanding of that which will never be understood, in this life. This life affords us the opportunity to enter, ever anew, the Mystery of God becoming fully human. He entered our humanity to the point of suffering and death, so we would have a God that knows from His own human experience, what it means to be powerless, vulnerable, and alone. Beginning with the announcement of His birth, through the events of His birth and life we are drawn always closer to Him who came for the purpose that we would have life and have it abundantly.
Abundant life for Jesus, is not about the bottom line. His abundant life does not show up on our bank statements. Abundant life is not about having the right house in the right neighborhood with the kids attending the right school with the right kind of kids. Abundant life if not even about giving you or your family the right stuff. Stuff will never be enough. The life that is offered to us for our reflection during this Season of Advent is wonder-full and beautifully captured in the following poem by Jessica Power entitled:
I live my Advent in the womb of Mary. And on one night when a great star swings free
From its high mooring and walks down the sky to be the dot above the Christus i,
I shall be born of her blessed grace
I wait in Mary-darkness, faith's walled place,
With hope's expectance of nativity.
I knew for long she carried and fed me, guarded and loved me, though I could not see.
But only now, with inward jubilee,
I come upon earth's most amazing knowledge;
Someone is hidden in this dark within me.
This Advent let us pray for, and be prepared to receive new lenses. Let us let go of all that has come to in Advents past. T his Advent is new, never before experienced. Let us prepare for the appearance of our God, not in the places and people we expect to find Him. He will come to us in the people he came for, the poor, the outcast, the prostitute, the leper, the blind, the lame, the wanderer. All those people we will meet, when we realize they are all within you and I. We are in reality a great community, wounded, and broken waiting in patient longing for Him who will transform the so called darkness in the birthing place of our God. As G.K. Chesterton once said, “Jesus came to turn the world upside right”. So, let us journey in dark faith, not knowing what is before us, but having the conviction God is faithful to his promises, "you are my friends" and "I am with you".
A very happy New Year to all of you. May all your celebration lead you ever deeper, until you meet that Someone who is hidden in the dark within you. A wonder-full, awe-full season of anticipation, and patient longing is my wish for you.