November 29th – A new dawn

Scripture Reflection . . .

The readings for this First Sunday of Advent (and the beginning of the Church’s new year) begin with the words, “The days are coming . . .” (Jeremiah 33:14-16) and end with, “Be vigilant at all times . . .” (Luke 21: 25 – 36).

advent week 1

Have you ever waited for the sun to rise (or more aptly waited for the earth to turn towards the sun)? If so, you know the sense of anticipation for the first brilliant glimmer.  First the distant hint of light on the horizon, then perhaps a glow that paints the clouds with soft pinks and yellows, then, aha! the first rays that break through the darkness and light up the earth in an instant.

surnise small

We know the feeling of anticipation for something we long for and the hope and expectation with which we wait.  We know what it is to be vigilant.

The season of Advent is about the expectation, the appearance of the Son of God; the emergence of a “just shoot” (Jeremiah 33:15), the rising of the Radiant Dawn, the birth of a dependent vulnerable baby.

This is the season of waiting with hope; of being attentive.  And thus it invites us to slow down and to be still so we won’t miss the little, unexpected, ways that God enters into our lives today.

In our lives as Sisters of the Holy Redeemer . . .

We reflect on all the events this past week that prepare us for this season of waiting and watching:

The week began with the funeral service of a friend of the Congregation. Funerals have a way of reminding us to live each moment with gratitude so that life doesn’t pass us by.  They are also about hope in our eternal home.

On Tuesday, a co-worker in one of our ministries prepared a delicious meal to inspire wholesome nutrition and overall well-being. We are reminded of the importance of slowing down to better care of ourselves and others. Our bodies do not thrive on stress and “fast food.”  Healthy living is worth waiting for.

On Wednesday, a few of the Sisters visited with another Sister who resides at one of our long-term care facilities and  unable to attend Thursday’s Thanksgiving day festivities. It was an evening to be together over a meal and conversation and to celebrate the gift of community and the call to be attentive to another.

Thanksgiving day, a day many wait for with great expectation, brought us together for Mass and a meal. Many others were able to join us in the day as we expressed our gratitude to God, the giver of all good gifts. We don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving Day, we can give thanks each day!

One thing we didn’t do on Black Friday, was wait in lines.  Some Sisters visited family or took a day off while others went about their daily ministries. However, we are reminded that times of waiting offer space to be still, to be attentive, to live deeply . . .

On Saturday, one Sister departed for Germany to assist with our ministry of hospitality to the many people seeking refuge there.  While she realized she will have many hours of waiting as she travels, she also knows it is nothing compared with the days of waiting for the unknown that so many people in our world face today.

In your life . . .

You may wish to recall times you have found yourself waiting this past week (in lines at the store, in traffic, for the coffee to brew, at an appointment, to fall asleep, for a dinner to be ready, for a phone call, for news, etc.).

How were you in these waiting times?

A prayer offering:

Gracious God, there is so much waiting in life. Help us find waiting to be the friend that invites us into the spaciousness of stillness.  Give us the grace to refrain from rushing ahead in order to bring waiting to an end. Instead, let us find joy in the waiting itself. Remind us, that this is a time to slow down in order to be attentive to the stark stillness that winter brings. Help us to breathe deeply and know ourselves to be held in the warmth of your love. Help us to be patient in this Advent season.  As we wait, help us to know your love. Help us to find you. In love and thanksgiving, we ask this in your name.  Amen.

Blessings on your week and Advent Season!