Advent is a time of waiting and preparing. I tend to plunge into it thoughtlessly, in the post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas rush. So I found a reflection on preparing for Advent at Creighton University’s Online Ministries very helpful.
I’d encourage you to read the whole piece. Here’s a taste of it:
There is “a time of emotional complexity that is part of this holiday season – with all of the expectations and challenges of family and relationships: who we want to be with and who we struggle to be with. So, our hearts are a bit tender, if not completely defended from experiencing anything deeply.”
“We will re-enter the ancient tradition of a people longing for the coming of a Savior…we have to ask ourselves: “What is it I long for now?” The answer won’t come easily. The more we walk around with that question, and let it penetrate through the layers of distraction and self-protection, the more powerfully we will experience Advent.”
“These are very precious days to come into intimate contact with our own need for salvation. It is a time to make friends with our tears, our darkness, our hunger and thirst.
What is missing?
What eludes my grasp?
What name can I give to the “restlessness” in my heart?
What is the emptiness I keep trying to “feed” with food, with fantasy, with excitement, with busyness?
What is the conflict that is “eating at me”?
What is the sinful, unloving, self-centered pattern for which I haven’t asked for forgiveness and healing?
Where do I need a peace that the world cannot give?
Coming to know where I need a Savior is how I can prepare for Advent”
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.