Sunday, November 29, 2015

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Christians are so countercultural that we begin our new year a month early. Advent is my favorite liturgical season, and we entered in at the Mount last night with our first prayer vigil.

As goes the tradition here, the newest postulant carries the candle during the first week, and I happen to be the newest postulant. The experience helped bring me in a little closer to the season of hope, patience, preparation, and holy waiting.

The easy reflection during Advent is to remind ourselves how desperately our world longs for the love of Christ to be revealed. I'd be surprised if you didn't hear words along those lines at least once each year during the season.

But, the harder thing for we humans, I believe, is to trust the words of the song we are singing here in our chapel each week:

We are here, here in the presence of God.
We are on holy ground.

Sure, our faith tells us this is so, but do we actually trust our faith enough to do the hardest thing? Do we trust our faith enough to be as bold as Mary and say "Yes." Yes, yes I will live on this holy ground. Yes, I will live into everything that my "Yes" demands of me. Yes, God is here.

Because, then, everything around us might still look the same, but we won't be the same. Our "Yes" is a yes to see the desperate world with new eyes -- eyes of hope and of love that turn us toward Christ.

The season of Advent, for me, becomes an opportunity to be patient with myself as I turn closer and closer to Emmanuel. I looked up synonyms for "preparation" in a thesaurus: education, groundwork, anticipation, foresight, and formation. "Formation" obviously speaks to me quite loudly right now, but all these words signal the truth that the turn won't happen overnight.

So, we light one candle the first week and see the light that it gives us to guide our turn. Then, we are given another light, and another, and another. This is why we wait. We wait until there is enough light to illumine the Holiness within us so much so that the ground on which we stand shines with Holiness, too. Yes. This is what we do. Yes.

Let us walk in the holy presence.

the chapel windows are particularly glorious this time of year