Advent Sunday - Year B - 30th November 2014

Waiting in Joyful Hope

Our scripture readings today set the tone for this beautiful season of Advent. As we prepare for Christmas, Advent reminds us not only that the Lord has come into our human history two thousand years ago, but also that He will indeed come again.

While Isaiah prayed that the mountains would melt like wax at the presence of God; it seems God was more interested in melting our hearts. In this in-between time, he wishes to be born in our hearts.

The Advent readings tell us of a God who hungers for our love, a God who intrudes into humans' history by being born as one of us. In conversation we often speak of our journey toward God, but we forget that it is God who does most of the travelling. The God who is already present in the very depths of our being draws nearer and invites us to respond. This God insists on breaking through the wasteland into the wilderness of our hearts.

The most important things in life cannot be rushed and require patient waiting. Patient waiting is required from the mother to bring the child to birth and then from babyhood to adulthood; the teacher requires it with the children at school; the farmer must patiently wait for the harvest.

Advent is the season of expectant waiting. Each year during this season we turn our thoughts to the wonder of the Incarnation – the birth of Jesus, Son of God, as one of us so that we could become one with God.

This can be a very busy time for parents; and yet, Advent respectfully calls us to take quiet time to enter into the spirit of the season, to ponder the scriptures as Mary did. Advent is asking us to abandon the struggle of trying to do everything and instead focus on our relationship with God.

We are not being asked to spend hours at prayer but perhaps we can find ten minutes - or even five - each day when as a family we can meet quietly around a lit candle to talk and reflect on what God wants to do for us. Make it time of family prayer by reading the story of the birth of Jesus and what it should mean to us as a family. Perhaps we need to 'do' less in order for God to 'do' more.

May it be a time of deep peace for you and your family as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of the Lord.

Fr Kevin O'Shea, C.M.