First Week of Advent

Written on: November 29, 2018

We have asked a number of our Sisters to share their Advent and Christmas thoughts with all of us. We hope you’ll check back each week for their insights.

We begin with Sister Eileen White…

I love Advent and this time of the year:

the early dusk feeling;

the potential for snow;

the evergreen smell of the Advent wreath;

the Mass readings;

the feeling of everything and everyone bundled up and waiting and watching and expecting.

Though commercialization of the season has kept many running and rushing to a Christmas that hasn’t much to do with the Christ, our Church urges us still – against all odds– to watch, to wait, to expect, to recognize God-with-us, Emmanuel, God in our midst, God within us and among us and incarnate (enfleshed) again and again. Our churches hold off on Christmas music and decorations so that we might once again long for the promised One.

Veni, Veni, Emmanuel!

Listen to some powerful phrases from the First Sunday of Advent:

The days are coming…when I will fulfill the promise I made… I will raise up… a just shoot who will do what is right and just in the land.


And then, this one from the gospel of Luke:

There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars…And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads for your redemption is at hand. 

The psalmist (Ps. 25) asks:

Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths. You guide the humble to justice and teach the humble your way. All your paths are kindness and constancy toward those who keep your covenant.  

And St. Paul writes to the residents of Thessalonica and us:

May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all. 

So for us today, what does the first week of Advent invite us to do, to be, and to count on? To do justice, to practice kindness, to abound in love- for all- and to count on God’s promised presence.

Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart make the audacious claim that we are “Creating a Compassionate World” -by our faithfulness to prayer, to service, to advocacy for justice and peace. How are you –how is your family– doing justice?  Practicing kindness?  Abounding in love for all?

Some ways you can join us in advocating for justice and peace: talk up gun control; learn about legislation that widens the gap between the haves and have nots and call your representative in congress to oppose it; find out what is really happening to families at our borders; take the time to investigate how to slow down climate change and decide with friends or family what you will do about it.

Pray with the psalmist, “Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths.”

Then, spend some time in silent prayer listening for God’s answer. In the kindness and love you share with family and friends and the folks to whom you reach out, God’s ways will be revealed to you. (God really will “friend” you!)  Veni Emmanuel!

Happy Advent!

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