By Sister Clare Walsh, MHSH
Advent is meant to be a time of waiting, of pondering, of anticipating. Yet from Black Friday to Christmas Eve our lives are often frenzied leaving little time to savor the longing in our hearts. This time of wonder in the Church year offers much that speaks to our lives today if we but slow down, notice, linger, attend to the magic and mystery that is Advent.
There are many windows into Advent that could lead us to the place within us where God dwells. Each window looked through reflectively connects the God-story with our story.
Gift yourself this holy season. Perhaps take a few moments to look back on your life and notice the ways that God “broke in.” Often the most wonderful things we do in life arise not from reason and logic, but from imagination, intuition and desire. We are drawn not driven. The action of God is always a drawing—powerful, perhaps, but always gentle.
Like Mary and Joseph, we are invited to pay attention to our inner lives as an important source of God’s guidance. Mary and Joseph were faced with a life-altering discernment. Only in the depths of their own relationship with God, could they trust that what seemed incomprehensible, was, indeed, an invitation.
When we look back at the myriad ways God has been present in our lives, we, too, can find the courage to trust our longing and know that it is God’s invitation. Jesuit David Fleming describes discernment as a “lover’s instinct.” People who love each other very much have a way of knowing how to anticipate the needs and desires of the other. They easily read the other’s face. They easily read the other’s face, listen to the voice inflection, and watch the way of walking.
By contemplating God’s action in our lives we can hope to develop a “lover’s instinct” of the Jesus who came to dwell with us.
Take a little time to remember those moments in your life when God felt especially close. How did you feel? Ask God to reveal Godself to you this Advent.
Are there some choices in your present life that might contain an invitation from God to live with more joy, peace, freedom, love, and meaning?
The joy of this season is elusive to so many. Is there someone that you could bring God’s love to this Advent?