The Priestly Pen
Advent is upon us once more, thanks be to God. Advent is the Church's very own Happy New Year! The first Sunday in Advent is our chance to anticipate anew our Lord's coming among us. All over again we get to rejoice at his birth, proclaim his epiphany to all people, imitate his life and work, recall his passion and death for our sake, and celebrate his resurrection and ascension - all "for us and for our salvation."
The approach of this season is not without its frustrations: it was only the last week in August when in some store I saw Christmas trees, ornaments, gift promotions, yard decorations, and the like! Oh, never mind the season (it was still blazing hot) or the pesky detail that even Thanksgiving was still three months away. But while harrumphing my way through tacky tinsel displays in 90-degree heat, I remembered that God is never constrained by our foolish schedules. Advent means coming, and God comes when God is good and ready, not before and certainly not later.
God's timing is, as ever, absolutely perfect. That is miracle enough in itself: God chose to break into our human time and live among us as a human being. But even that breaking into human time is God's holy doing according to the holy timing. 800 years before Jesus was born, the Hebrew people had yearned for deliverance from exile, praying, O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, O Lord.... (Isaiah 64:1) Well, God did exactly that, if not exactly the way the Jews expected!
This year, let us celebrate Advent as God's Happy New Year for us, the coming of new days for new hearts, new spirits, new life. Let our waiting be sweet anticipation of the coming of Christ in glory. Let us savor watching yet just a little while longer for the coming of the Promised One. Let us revel in the God-time of preparation to receive God-with-us. Let us slow down and expect our ever-coming Savior who brings his birthday gifts to us - hope, mercy, grace, love. Let us embrace this Coming as did blessed Mary - with joy and thanksgiving. As the Babe grows within her, he grows within us, too, in the womb of our hearts. May this Advent gently enfold us, shield us from all things frantic, raise us up in hope and faith, and prepare us to bear the Word to the world. Each day in Advent, let us pray together:
What mystery, Most High, that you should seek
My little heart to hold your eternal love
And my small soul as home for endless joy.
What miracle, Holy One, that you should choose
to make of me a cradle of Creation
to hold and rock salvation's new Beginning.
Amen, come, Lord Jesus.
In the Savior's love,
Pastor Maggie Rourk