This past Sunday began the season of Advent – the season of waiting and watching for the coming of Christ. Wendy Wright, author of “The Vigil,” believes that the Church’s annual Advent vigil is a very special time of year for Christians – a time filled with opportunities to deepen our spiritual lives and grow closer to God. For her, Advent is a time when we can live out the promise of Psalm 46, “Be still and know that I am God.” She writes:
The ancient desert dwellers of our early Christian communities tell us that the surest way into the heart of God is to be still. In being still we learn to be attentive to the vast and hidden stillness that permeates all things. So I invite you to begin by becoming attentive to that stillness as well. Seek it first in your own home. Go at night into the darkened room
of your sleeping child and breathe with the moist, quick risings of a child’s breath. Rise in the thin light of a new day. Do not turn on the lamp or the television or the coffee maker, but stand by an east window and let the dawn’s fingers creep up over the fingers of your own hand. Listen next for stillness as you venture out of doors. Hear it in the splintering of fall leaves as you cross a grassy knoll between paths in the park.
Find it in the first cape of snow draped over the eaves of your house. Turn finally to your own heart. The same stillness is there as well. At the core, buried beneath the turbulence of emotions rubbed raw by life’s labor, is the same stillness discovered in the slowmoving sap of an autumn tree. In that primordial stillness beats the heart of God…
Advent is a time of stillness and preparation – a time of expectation and longing for the fullness of God. But it is also a time of joy and celebration, as we give voice to the joy that is already ours. Advent points us toward the “Hallelujah Chorus” of Christmas day, but it does so acknowledging that God is already as close to us as the air we breathe and the ground beneath our feet.
Join us each Sunday in our Advent journey toward Christmas. Come home for the holidays! Come home to where Christmas lives. But most of all, take time to listen in the stillness for the whisper of God’s voice. Join us as we lift our hearts and our voices in praise and thanksgiving for the gift of God’s light in the birth of our Savior.
P.S. Don’t forget our Christmas Bible studies on December 9th and 16th. Following a dinner at 5:45 p.m. we’ll study the nativity stories in Matthew (Dec. 9th) and Luke (Dec. 16th). I look forward to seeing you there!