God came to us because he wanted to join us on the road, to listen to our story, and to help us realize that we are not walking in circles but moving towards the house of peace and joy. This is the great mystery of Christmas that continues to give us comfort and consolation: we are not alone on our journey. The God of love who gave us life sent his only Son to be with us at all times and in all places, so that we never have to feel lost in our struggles but always can trust that he walks with us.
The challenge is to let God be who he wants to be. A part of us clings to our aloneness and does not allow God to touch us where we are most in pain. Often we hide from him precisely those places in ourselves where we feel guilty, ashamed, confused, and lost. Thus we do not give him a chance to be with us where we feel most alone.
Christmas is the renewed invitation not to be afraid and to let him-whose love is greater than our own hearts and minds can comprehend-be our companion.
— Henri Nouwen from Gracias
Life Is A Constant Advent Experience
Life is a constant Advent experience: the world is not as just, not as loving, not as whole as we know it can and should be; we are constantly waiting to become, to discover, to understand, to change, to complete, to fulfil. Hope, struggle, fear, expectation and fulfilment are all part of life’s Advent. But the coming of Christ and his presence among us – as one of us – gives us reason to live in hope: that light will shatter the darkness, that we can be liberated from our fears and prejudices, that we care never alone or abandoned by our merciful Father in heaven. We are not a Christmas people but an Advent people living our lives in patient faith and joyful hope for the Lord’s coming in our lifetimes. The season of Advent confronts us with both the preciousness and precariousness of life, the inevitable – yet still always difficult – changes that we must contend with in the course of the time we are given.
— Jay Cormier from Seed Sown
Season For Prayer and Reformation
Advent, like its cousin Lent, is a season for prayer and reformation of our hearts. Since it comes at winter time, fire is a fitting sign to help us celebrate Advent… If Christ is to come more fully into our lives this Christmas, if God is to become really incarnate for us, then fire will have to be present in our prayer. Our worship and devotion will have to stoke the kind of fire in our souls that can truly change our hearts. Ours is a great responsibility not to waste this Advent time.
— Edward Hays from A Pilgrim’s Almanac
Something Is On The Horizon
The season of Advent means there is something on the horizon the likes of which we have never seen before. … What is possible is to not see it, to miss it, to turn just as it brushes past you. And you begin to grasp what it was you missed, like Moses in the cleft of the rock, watching God’s hindquarters fade in the distance. So stay. Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait. Behold. Wonder. There will be time enough for running. For rushing. For worrying. For pushing. For now, stay. Wait. Something is on the horizon.
— Jan L. Richardson from Night Visions: Searching the Shadows of Advent and Christmas
For a New Beginning
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
— John O’Donohue from To Bless the Space between Us
- Magnificent Refuge
- Psalm Of An Emerging Emmanuel
- Keep The Lamp Burning
- Blessing the Threshold
- Silence Is One Of The Major Thresholds In The World
- Praying the Sunset Prayer