Advent Wakefulness

advent-book

“Could but my soul become a silent night, God would be born in me and set all things aright.” – 15th Century

What are we waiting and watching for during Advent? We are watching for God’s presence in us and among us. Such a presence is not easily seen, heard, or nurtured in the crowded inn of the world and its dazzling lights.

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“Most of modern life is geared for a flight from God into the wilderness of neuroses.” – Thomas Merton

I love the glad tidings of joy at Christmas and the general warmth of conviviality and vague feelings of good will, but God’s presence also involves a shattering of the familiar and “frightening news for everyone who has a conscience.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer) I tend to avoid that part, and so the pattern repeats again: God is born away from the madness in a place apart, where only a few poor and vigilant souls have the courage to see. Will I be there?

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To be aware means to make choices. Choices require effort and sacrifice, rather than drifting comfortably in a cloud of mass consciousness and sense overload. If I take a beautiful opportunity such as the Advent and Christmas season and reduce it to just one more obligation and cause for anxiety, I will end up right back where I started: burnout, alienation, and unrest.

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“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of life.” – (Luke 21:34)

Prayer: Lord of Life, this Advent come to my assistance; let me remain awake to your reality amid the competing realities of a world that has forgotten how to wait in hope for the one thing necessary.

4 thoughts on “Advent Wakefulness

  1. I really had never thought about the statement that Jesus was born away from the madness of the world. Lord help me during Advent to focus on your coming and not the chaos of our current world.

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  2. Thanks for this wonderful Advent reflection, David. Advent is a time to remember that we are not waiting for the world’s comfort but have received the Comforter of heaven.

    Like

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