Saturday, 28 November 2009

Advent: a time of preparation, reflection and readiness

The old has gone, the new has come... the liturgical year has finished, the new one has started, as we are entering Advent! But what is Advent? Without trying to give an exact definition, I will briefly try to reflect on what Advent means to me, and hopefully this might be helpful for each one's own journey.

In the last week we might have reflected on the last year, and especially what has happened in our lives, but I guess more importantly how God might have been at work. Like I mentioned last week, it is often only a significant amount of time that we can see that the wobbly, uneven and twisted path we were walking on actually seemed much straighter than we initially thought... maybe we just had to be lead around a few difficulties on the way, in order not to get stuck in a swamp or fall down a cliff...


But now Advent has started, and I guess it is time to look forward. Advent is a time of preparation, a time in which we look forward to God to become man through the incarnation, after which He walked amount us being borne with the nativity. The Gospel this week is dramatic, it is talking about "signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves" (Luk 21:25 RSV) and " "men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken." (Luk 21:26 RSV)

We can let our imagination run free with these images and imagine the whole spectacle happening, and then see the "the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory." (Luk 21:27 RSV) Even though the liturgical year ended yesterday, we can clearly see the continuation as well, the call to be ready...

But apart from the continued call for the second coming of our Lord, Advent is falso a time of once more prepare myself for the birth of our Lord, and specifically preparing the heart for a new birth of Him in my heart, as Meister Eckhart describes in one of his advent sermons. As such, advent is for me a time of silent preparation, a time to open my heart to His love, to prepare myself to fully and truly receive Him in my live...

Significant in direct relation to that, however, is the line "Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luk 21:28 RSV) This time of preparation, in the time of preparation and the joyfully looking forward to our Saviour, does not just setting silent in a corner, dosing off in a chapel or doing nothing, something that I always have to remind myself of in prayer. It is more a silent being watch-full, being attentive to the sounds around us, reflecting on our lives and on our readiness to receive the Lord when He comes.  "blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes" (Luk 12:37 RSV), there is need for attentiveness and readiness "Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning" (Luk 12:35 RSV).

So especially Advent is a time when it is possible to make this extra effort, to watch and pray, to make the effort to spend some time in preparation and reflect on our relation with our Lord, or on our readiness to meet Him when He comes, a coming which is a continues process, which is supposed to be a daily encounter....

I better get back to my essay writing now, but might try and do a daily, or a least a regular short reflection during the next four weeks of Advent....

2 comments:

Barbara Alice Schoeneberger said...

We can never be reminded enough to consider how ready we will be to meet Jesus when He comes. Thanks for the post.

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