Are You Ready?

Some Thoughts for the First Week of Advent

By Sister M. Martha Pavelsky, MHSH

advent wreath one candle

We all know that “Advent” means “coming.”  Playing Thesaurus in my head, I come up with “impending” (like a disaster?), “approaching” (like a freight train?), “nearing” (like another unwelcome birthday?).  What can be made of that mess?

Well, start with what’s easy:  a birthday is coming, an event that might be freighted with a mix of emotions.  At rock bottom:  are you glad that you’re alive?

Grateful, at least in part, for what you’ve known of life so far?  If you had not been born, how would life have been different for your family?

What if Jesus had never been born? How would your view of life’s meaning be different?

I guess “approaching” could be scary, like a train coming on fast.  For a child, a longed-for event can’t approach quickly enough: days drag, weeks are eleven days long, and they demand, “When will it be…?” or the dreaded “Are we there yet?”

Longing, as we grow older and take on more responsibility for preparing, is both deliciously tantalizing and a blessing—more time to accomplish things.  We sing, “O come, O come…” but we think, “take your time—I’m not ready yet!”

The Latin root of “impending” is “to hang,” e.g., over one’s head, like the sword above Damocles, I suppose, but I’d rather imagine a ball of mistletoe.

Lots of positive vibes there, unless you’re wizened to the core.  Children fairly vibrate with excitement as good times move closer.  Visit a first grade classroom a week before Christmas—you’ll get it.

So many choices in those synonyms for Advent, choices we are, more or less, free to make for ourselves.  Pick a good, positive one, and make it your business to view all of Advent in that light: your Christmas may be better for your choice!

 For reflection:

What feelings does the word “Advent” evoke in you?  Do some of those feelings need refurbishing?  How might that be accomplished?

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2 Responses to Are You Ready?

  1. Thanks, Martha! This is a wonderful beginning for the Advent Season! For many years I have been reading Fr. Karl Rahner, SJ’s reflections on the meaning of Advent. I approach his insights because Advent for him is full of joy, new beginnings and taking risks. A line from one of his Advent meditations reads: “Advent means that every person and every Christian is and should be an Advent person – not just in this part of of the church year, but also in his or her entire life. This means being a person who cooperatively enacts the one and final movement of the world and history toward God’s arrival in it in freedom, in faith, hope and love!” Holy Advent!

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