Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee.
This first line of the classic Advent hymn suggests the timeless search for a spiritual center in the midst of the stressful realities of the world which so easily raise up fear in the human heart. There is no point in pretending that we are free from fear as we seek our pathways in the midst of a broken world.
I hope you are already participating in reading the reflections found in Watch for the Light and following Luther Zeigler’s reflections each day of the Advent season (to be found via a link from the parish website, www.sjcb.org). The diverse authors represented in the book and Luther’s reflections encourage me to reflect myself this Advent, and I hope this spiritual practice is valuable for everyone.
Part of me wants to rush to the light of the Incarnation which we celebrate as Christmas, and it would be easy to do so. Christmas lights abound in the neighborhood (including decorations at our house) and the “media message” is relentlessly that of the joy of Christmas. And thanks to the generous and loving spirit of the people of St. John’s, this Advent began with a light-filled celebration of my 40th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. I am beyond grateful for all who made the day special for the whole congregation and for me!
Because of those celebrations, it is especially tempting for me to rush things along!
By the same token, I find that I am grateful for the reflective time of the Advent season and recalling so many experiences I have had the privilege of sharing with parishioners and friends over the years. I am thankful for God’s presence in and beyond all those experiences, and for the moments of light which are made known when the world’s darkness seems to be in control.
May Advent free our spirits as we anticipate the celebration of Incarnation again this year.