Happy New Year!
"The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with my people--let your hearts now be open."
So begins a song I learned years ago with words taken from Sunday's Jeremiah reading...What a wonderful way to begin our new church year, with open hearts and minds, ready to hear the word of God and live it to the fullest.
Not to be outdone, Paul in his writing to the Thessalonians prays that they may abound in love for one another, and conduct themselves always from the standpoint of loving one another.
As we begin another Advent Season, what are you focusing on? As Catholic Christians we are called to live in the world but not be OF the world. I find that especially challenging this time of year. I want to reflect and take time for more prayer and focus a bit on what Advent is really about: preparing my heart and mind once again for the coming of Christ in my world. But in my world, there is a rush to jump ahead to Christmas with shopping and decorating and partying and a million other tasks that must get done. What are we to do? How do we live in the tension of such different demands?
And if I'm thinking about the coming of Christ in my world today...oh dear...what does THAT look like? My world is so broken and fractured by so many 'isms', I can't help but think that God would be very disappointed in how we treat each other. I find myself wondering if Jesus Christ would be welcome when he does appear!
Where does that leave me on this first Sunday of Advent?
I think I'll take a simpler approach to the season. I think I won't worry about the gifts or the baking, or the decorating...somehow it will get done, and if I'm smart, I'll enjoy it all. Otherwise, what's the point? I want to take the time to be with people in a significant way...not just talking at one another at yet another party. I want to pray with and for others, especially those who haven't been given the gifts of family and friends that I so cherish. I want to be grateful. I want to slow down.
I should remember to be careful what I ask for: I had to slow down this last week due to a pinched nerve in my back and I did NOT like that at all. But still, slowing down has it's benefits. It certainly helps me be more in touch with my humanity. (insert a classic Jayne eye roll here!)
Advent is here. Whether I'm ready or not, it's time to reflect, to prepare, to pray for my world. I think I'm ready. I want to join others in this great moment of prayer for our world-that our hearts may be open, and that we will abound in love for one another.
Will you join me in that prayer?