But what happens? Shopping, parties, sporting events, busyness, chattiness, boozing, and deepening darkness as we approach the solstice. What happened to the “coming of God?” Did we miss it? Perhaps “we had the experience but missed the meaning.” Or perhaps we did not experience God’s coming at all. Maybe we were just too busy to be bothered about God.
Speaking for myself, I have usually been disappointed by Advent. It promises to be a supremely beautiful, peaceful, contemplative season. What a contrast with what we have made of our religious services, of our whole lives, and perhaps especially in Advent. As a priest working in parishes, I have long found Advent to be exhausting, with extra Masses, extra reconciliation services, extra home visits, and the growing tension of Christmas. What I have looked forward to is less than coming of God than the passing of Christmas for another year. January is often more sweetly quiet and bright compared to the noise, busyness, and deepening darkness of December.
If there is some truth to these observations, what can one do to make Advent truly a season of waiting for the coming of God? In larger terms, how should one live in the face of society’s noise and “good times,” or indeed, the madness of this passing world?
Seek to keep returning to the truth of reality: God is here now, quietly waiting for a soul to enter into His peace, His love, His joy. As the waves are crashing, one must dive beneath the waves, and enter into the divine silence. Is it easy? No way, especially when we have constructed lives aiming to drown out peace and silence. We light little fires and little lights, and consume distilled spirits, rather than seek through the darkness to the inner Light, by the help of the stilling Spirit.
You who are, draw me by your Spirit away from all that passes, into your unseen Presence. Draw hard, LORD, for powerful forces would drag me away from You. Give me the desire, the will, the grace to keep seeking to enter your peace. Even in the midst of daily duties and occasional celebrations, help me to be mindful of You, drawing me to Yourself.
You are here, even when we are not.