Another Advent Season is with us. I was thinking on a hike recently, after 48 years, is there anything new to be said about Advent?
There is not much new to be said, however, there is so much newness, to be experienced. This will be our FIRST Advent as we are, right now.
We, as we are today,have never experienced this season of patient expectation.There will be a newness. this newness will not happen in a vacuum. This newness will be in direct proportion to the effort we will make so we can encounter the newness as it breaks into our everyday living. We will have to make the effort to look beyond the familiar, to that which is hidden, and exists beyond the familiar. Let us ask to see the people, places and events of the Season through a new set of lenses. Let us allow faith and wonder to lead us to a new Bethlehem. Let us make the effort to this year to take the risk of leaving the familiar behind. Why? So we can have a new vision, a newer, more vibrant, life-giving understanding of how each person, place and event of this Season is within us, right now. What we read in the scriptures is not just about what happened 2,000 years ago. This season challenges us to encounter all the above, in our everyday living.
Here is a suggestion to make this Advent a newer, and more life-giving reality. Take one person, place, or event and reflect on where that reality is within you. Where do you find Bethlehem within, this year? Where in your life is the place you are certain God is not there? What is the part of you that you look down on and resent? Who, for instance, has been Angel Gabriel for you? Who have you been an Angel Gabriel to? Who has been Elizabeth for you as you struggled with the reality you are the bearer of The Christ. That in itself is a challenge, but we have to give birth to that reality. A birth that will take place in a very hostile world. Not unlike Mary and what she and Joseph had to face. Now the next one is real nasty, where do we find Herod in our lives? Who is it that makes the effort to destroy the Life of THE INFANT within us? Who is it we are persecuting so that The Mystery of The Incarnation within is prevented from taking root and developing? When we are being tough on ourselves now we can encounter the shepherds within. The outcasts of society we the first to hear the Good News, and become proclaimers of said good news. God's ways are definitely our ways. Take, then, this year an unfamiliar person, place, Advent, then, is NOT a once a year event. It is an every MOMENT event. What we are doing in this season is taking an in depth, faith led look at an age old, but ageless event. This ageless event is an encounter with the infinite, hence it's meaning can never be
exhausted. There will be new insights because of the ever newness, of our human journey as spiritual beings. We will be challenged to see the connection, an ever new connection, between what is presented to us in the Gospels, and how we are living that gospel reality in the reality of our daily living. However, let us be honest, and own the fact we are all imperfect bearers of the Good News. But, let us never lose heart. The real good news is that while we are on this journey Our Gracious Father/Mother God is ever and always molding and fashioning us to be more like Jesus Christ. He was , and ever will be, the ONLY perfect manifestation and revelation of God. The rest of us are following perfectly imperfect, always in need of the strengthening, transforming grace which will allow us to fulfill our eternal vocation.
Each moment we live then is another moment in which The Holy Spirit is molding and fashioning into who our God wants us to be, so we can be more authentic bearers of the Good News, His Son was the incarnation of. We then each day continue make the Mystery of The Incarnation an ongoing reality. That is the God given dignity of each and every person. No matter where he or she is living out their reality. Being faithful, and true to their reality, is the necessary conditions for God's plan to work. When we are not true to who we really are, the original plan is frustrated and God now has to work with plan "B". Plan 'B" is challenge we give to God as the result of our egocentric egos being in control, rather than the healthy true self. It takes a great deal of purgation and purification for the true self to surface and the false self be put in its rightful place. This battle royal is the battle, we have to experience, and endure, within the depths of souls. There is no let up. That is why our Good Shepherd God never sleeps. He is the vigilant One always there to defend, nourish and gently guides us.
In this season we again look through the eyes of faith to the approach, the appearance of God. He appears in the most unlikely places. He approaches us in the personhood of the vulnerable, the outcast, the “least ones", in the estimation of the world. As the world sees that is not how our God sees. May we all be gifted with a deeper insight, so we can see more clearly as God sees.