Preparing for Advent
Setting the Stage For Our Advent Journey,
An Introduction With
Rev. Andrew Manickam OFM Cap.
Getting in Touch with Myself
One of the best ways to prepare for the very special season of Advent is
to "get in touch with ourselves." It may sound odd, but one symptom of
our contemporary lives is that we can often be quite "out of touch" with
what is going on in our very own hearts.
We are about to hear some very powerful and stirring readings from
Isaiah, the Prophet. We will re-enter the ancient tradition of a people
longing for the coming of a Savior. We may remember the days of our
childhood when we longed for Christmas to come, because it was a magical
time of receiving gifts. As adults, 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
We are about to read and pray about the expectant hope of Israel, as
expressed through Isaiah. The images we will be using are about darkness
and gloom - about thick clouds covering the people - and about hunger
and thirst. They are images that attempt to capture a sense of what we
feel when we are distant from our God. There are many images about war
and conflict. They express the powerlessness and anxiety we experience
when we feel vulnerable and defense-less. Most of all, there are images
of a future day - a day that can only be called the Lord's - when all
the tears will be wiped away, when there will be plenty to eat and
drink, and when there will be no more conflict and no more war. God's
salvation will be made known. God's victory will be complete.
These are very precious days for us 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. I
am preparing to listen to the promises, listen to these rich texts
announcing the liberation I can truly long for. When my heart is open,
when my hands are open, when my mouth is open and ready to ask for
freedom, healing and peace, then I am ready to begin Advent.
Come, Lord, Jesus. Come and Visit Your People.
We Await Your Coming; Come, O, Lord.
Read Isaiah 35