One of the essential paradoxes of Advent: that while we wait for God, we are with God all along, that while we need to be reassured of God’s arrival, or the arrival of our homecoming,
we are already at home. – Michelle Blake
The Season of Advent is truly a remarkable time of the year (the word Advent comes from the Latin word adventus and means ‘coming’ or ‘arrival’). It is a time to ponder, to wait, and to prepare for the celebration of the profound truth about God – that God loves us beyond our wildest imagination.
Certainly Advent is much more than buying gifts, trimming a Christmas tree, listening to holiday music, attending parties. Advent can be seen as a sacred, spiritual exercise as we walk with others on the journey of life. During this season, we are called to be faithful stewards of what is entrusted to us as people of God, that we have a responsibility to love God with all our heart and to love all of our neighbors as ourselves. When we yearn for a better world, we need to remember that we too have likely contributed to the problems of the world and accept our responsibility for what we have done – including our greediness, our negativity, our judgmental thoughts, our anger, our desire for revenge.
In the New Testament of the Bible, there is the amazing story of the pregnant teenage Mary visiting her elderly pregnant cousin Elizabeth. The visit of these two women gives us a good example of a healing and holy human encounter – a meeting that is open, non-judgmental, and supportive. We sense there was a recognition and acceptance of the goodness within each other.
That same holy energy can be found within each of us. Whenever we meet someone, we need to enter the encounter with compassion, with intention, with thoughtfulness. The greetings we exchange, the words we share have power – the power to comfort and heal, and the power to cause pain. There can be no room for recklessness in our interactions with others. When we truly connect with someone, we enter the soul or the “sacred sanctuary” of that person. In moments of genuine intimacy, our truest and deepest self enters into the truest and deepest self of another. These soul-to-soul encounters may be the most profound human interactions.
Perhaps during this Advent Season, let us think about being a dwelling place not only for the Divine but a safe place for all peoples to come. May we provide a home for those who may be in need as well as for God who is always with us on our journey. Yes, let us prepare ourselves for the gift of Advent.
* What does the Gift of Advent mean to you?
* Have you had an opportunity to be a dwelling place for people to come?
* Have you had a soul-to-soul encounter with another person that changed your life?
Beloved Giver of Life, thank you for loving us as You do. At this Advent Season, help us to prepare the way of the Lord in our hearts, in our communities, and in the world. You have so generously shared your Presence with us. Now teach us to share that Presence with others in this Holy Season. Help us to learn to have healing experiences with others. May this time of Advent be filled with soul-to-soul encounters. Amen.