Waiting for God (Advent Week 1)

This reflections was first posted by Audrey, fcJ on her blog, surprising-grace.blogspot.com.

Nowadays, my daily routine involves traveling a little more than an hour each day to my place of work (and back again in the evening), a big part of it on foot through drab-looking residential streets and across two dusty, polluted highways. In the last few weeks, however, it has given me much pleasure to see Christmas decorations going up bit by bit in the places I pass: a lighted star in someone’s window; wreaths made of recycled bottles on a bridge; and in the doorway of someone’s small tin shack – a complete nativity scene!

These little bits of green and tinsel are more than just the trappings of Christmas… they are for me signs that point beyond. They hint at what we often forget: that behind the dull exteriors of the spaces we inhabit and the sheer familiarity of our daily grind is something extraordinary. The divine is indeed already present here among us, in the very places of our everyday challenges, boredom, and joy.

This is what Christmas celebrates: that God has come and dwells among us!

For Catholics, the four weeks before Christmas are a special time known as “Advent”, in which we prepare our hearts to welcome the presence of God among us. I would like to share with you here in the next few weeks some Advent reflection resources that I have written or compiled as part of my ministry. For each week of Advent, these include a set of reflections based on the Sunday scripture readings, suggestions for prayer and discussion, and a group prayer service (that can be completed in half an hour). They are intended to help us become more attentive to the desires and longings of our hearts and of our world.

I apologise in advance that I have not had the time to re-write the reflections in a more inclusive way for those from other faith traditions, but I trust that themes – and particularly the suggestions for prayer and discussion – may still be helpful to you. Please feel free to use or share these in any way that you like.

Have a blessed and meaningful Advent season ahead!