Saturday, October 20, 2012

The God of Advent

Looking For God

Advent is a time set aside for us to wait for the Lord.  Places of worship all over the world make room on their calendars to aid people in this search.  There are penance services, wreath making ceremonies, trees that have on them pieces of paper on which on which are written wishes and requests for gifts.  The churches press down on us, asking that we do what we can to make room for God in our lives.
At one point in history, God chose to become one of us.  Prior to his coming as an infant, all previous history was ordered to this one Event.  The prophets spoke of it for centuries.  They told their followers that a Savior would come and bring good news, news of salvation. Since his arrival among us, churches have laid down various paths to find him.  Millions of the faithful seek out religious sites where, it is believed, there exists an optimum chance of communicating with the divine.  Mystics have, for centuries, pointed out that the journey begins within the human heart.  And they also stress the need for a quiet place, a secluded place apart from the dizzying and distracting traffic of human life.
God waited to come to us.  He chose a day and a young woman to make known his desire.  God was and is still looking for us, after us.  And I think he made it very difficult for any one of us to miss him.  Sine he was born among us, no human life is the same.  He lives within us.  He is born to us and in us.
Advent can be a vexing time for us.  On the one hand, we feel the need to get to our churches and do what we can to secure a sense of God in our lives.  On the other hand, there are so many things to do in the Season.  There are gifts to buy and wrap.  There are trees to get and decorate.  There are cards to write, parties to go to, people to remember, gifts to give and receive, old friends with whom we want to get in touch.  Not many of us succeed in pulling off the “perfect Christmas.”  It is a time when, for many, the lights and the merriment – the songs and the expectancy of the highest joy possible – painfully awaken the ache of missing loved ones.  A broken heart has a difficult time rising to the occasion of the joy that bespeaks Christmas. 
I would like to suggest that God lives everywhere.  He is in our joys and sorrows, our expectancies and our disappointments. He is the happy heart and is also the heavy hearted. 
The malls are crowded these days.  Millions of people looking for the right gift for people who mean much to them.
Amidst all the hustle and bustle, God moves quietly but really.  He is there.  And maybe the most cherished insight we can hold in our hearts is that when we think we may have missed finding him during Advent, he has been where we least expected to find him.  In our homes, our offices, our stores and our streets.  We can breathe a sigh of relief that he indeed has come.  He lives in all the beauty and hope of this world, from busy markets to the most serene of churches. 

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