Dear friends on the journey,
Jesus is of the past, the present and the future. We know from scripture that he has already come into our world in history and that he will come again at the end of time, though we do not know when. But every Advent is a time to renew ourselves to welcome Jesus in the present, at Christmas when he comes to dwell in our homes, consciousness, and hearts.
As I read today’s gospel, I was struck by Luke’s use of the words drunkenness and anxieties, things that cause drowsiness and keep us from being alert. Recently I heard a simplistic explanation of depression and anxiety: depression looks to the past while anxiety looks to the future. Drunkenness, or any substance or addiction, masks the pain of our past. Anxiety thrusts us into the future worrying about things that have not happened yet and may not ever occur. Both keep us from living in the present, the only time we truly have.
The Advent season is our opportunity to embrace the present. Stillness helps us to pay attention to where Jesus is active in our lives. Who or what has he set in your path as a messenger? Stillness allows us to be attentive to the stirrings of our hearts and minds. What might God be calling you to right now? Stillness affords us the opportunity to engage our whole being and senses to see the kindness in people, hear the music and sounds around us, feel the breeze on our skin, smell the seasonal scents, and taste the goodness of food and drink. Who or what needs your attention this week?
Our parish offers many ways to be present in our relationship with God, to ready our hearts and homes, and to simply enjoy the season. On this first Sunday of Advent, I invite you to consider one or two of these spiritual activities: