An Advent Reflection

Advent can play a silent but loud role in our lives… 


Today we start a new year.  We begin with the season of Advent, a season that invites us to prepare for Christmas:  

§  the arrival of God, Christ, into the world; 

§  the appearance of God in the human form of a person to be named Jesus; 

§  the occurrence of a young woman, Mary, conceiving a Child, and a man, Joseph, marrying her to be the parenting father of this Child; 

§  the birth of this Divine Child in the most unbecoming place; 

§  the dawn of a new era that will change the hearts of many and the world until God’s love reigns; 

§  and the rising of a new world religion from which a radical and prophetic teaching will guide generations to work together to bring a new just social order.  

This is what was given to the world by God at Christmas.  This is what has been given to you and I.  It is an incredible Gift; and this Gift, Christ Jesus, goes on giving.  

To receive or take in such a gift, takes time to appreciate what God has and is doing through the giving of God’s Son.  Each of us are invited into this wonderful time of Advent to ponder and deepen our understanding of what all this has to mean for us today.  

Our modern culture has turned this into a hyped tinsel time, where we feel more obligated to spend money than pray. Our academic calendar and demands make this a most stressful time of the year.  For many today Advent is one of those inaudible spiritual seasons; so quiet, it goes unnoticed.  Jingle Bells and swiping credit cards drown out the longing hearts that utter “O come O come Emmanuel”.  Some of us leap over it and want all the fanfare of cutesy “christmas”, knowing little to none about what we are meant to be celebrating. Can we as faithful believers offer a quiet dignity, a reverent stance that has us live out the season patiently, intentionally awaiting God’s coming into our human lives? 

Waiting is something that is becoming more and more foreign to us.  And yet, if we look back on our lives, we realize we have had to bring a measure of patience to our lives in order to grow up, to learn, to build up our confidence, to deepen our friendships, to acquire certain material things. But what grows with that waiting and the slowing-down of acquiring things is a deeper appreciation for what has been gained, received and or given in the end.  Advent perhaps plays a silent role in our lives but maybe this year we can hear something of profound truth (because of that silence) being said to us that we have needed to hear in a long time. 

Plus we have been given a new year and from it will come many new things, ideas, awakenings, experiences, and encounters. Let us hope that one of them will be a meaningful encounter with Christ Jesus, beginning with this Christmas by being with family and friends and or giving over to the  deeper silence of our hearts.

David Shulist, S.J.
Director of Jesuit Volunteers Canada

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