A is for Advent
The name of the season tells us what it is about. Advent comes to us directly from the Latin, ad-venire, to come. On the human side of Advent, we tend to emphasize the themes of waiting and watching. It is for us a season to pause and pray, to stop and reflect, to wonder as we wander. But the very thing that we are invited to contemplate is that God is all action, moving closer to us all the time. The traditional prayer of Advent is, “Come, Lord Jesus,” and when we look toward Bethlehem we are reminded that this prayer never disappoints in the end.
Even at the end of his earthly life, when he is talking to the disciples about his death, Jesus suggests that the divine dimensions of this prayer are larger than we traditionally imagine. He says, just as he is about to leave them, “I am coming to you.” Have we considered that these words are not referring to a fixed point in time, somewhere in the future, but that they may describe the ongoing emergence of the eternal in our lives? Do we dare to believe that Christ’s promise is being fulfilled even now, when we consent to carry him in the womb of our hearts and minds?
Here is the miracle of Advent. We wait and watch, which is the last thing we want to do in 2020. But if we scan the skies for a streaking comet or a falling asteroid, we will wait in vain. Instead, the coming of Christ is like a shoot coming up from ground, like a flower budding in a place that we thought was barren and lifeless. The whole journey from heaven to earth can be mapped in the human heart.