Seeking Advent Patience

The following comes from Daily Reflections for Advent & Christmas – Waiting in Joyful Hope 2011-2012 by Jay Cormier which is published each year by Liturgical Press.

I was given this little “pocket book” as an Advent gift by the Deacon that runs our Scripture class each week. This book is such a lovely way to focus on Advent and the waiting for Christmas. Each day you’re given the readings, a theme from the scripture is then reflected upon. Following the reflection Mr. Cormier provides questions to ponder (meditation) and finishes with a prayer for each day.

This little booklet has helped me in my daily prayer life as he helps you dig a little deeper into the readings for each day. Rather than try to give you the jist of the book I’ll give you a snapshot of Friday, December 9th in the Second Week of Advent. I chose this day as it touches on our daily hectic lives and how we can better accept Advent as a time of preparation and waiting.

Readings: Isaiah 48:17-19; Matthew 11:16-19

Scripture: “(W)isdom is vindicated by her works.” (Matthew 11:19)

Reflection: We are not a very patient people. We can’t spare the time to stop and catch our breath. Quiet unnerves us; silence is a sure sigh that something is wrong; reflection and thoughtfulness are luxuries. We do not live in the moment–we live in the next moment.

We need to be constantly connected, online, and plugged in.
We are terrified of being bored.
We are in a constant hurry–and yet we do not get very far.
We struggle to walk between the austere, demanding John at the Jordan and the Jesus who welcomes and forgives all.
Too often we let our fears and doube3ts, our cynicism and fatalism, affect our decision making. We are defeated by what is not rather than inspired by what could be.
For all our technology, we are disconnected.
For all our global outreach, we know little beyond our own little plot of earth.
For all our education, we fail to realize what is good and right in our midst.

Advent calls us to patience– not patience that passively accepts without complaint whatever disappoints us, but patience that is certain in the hope of better things to come. In criticizing the fickleness of this “generations,” Jesus points out that wisdom begins with such patience: to stop, to reflect, to see what is hidden, to listen with the heart. These days of Advent are a microcosm of our lives, revealing to us the preciousness of time and confronting us with our mortality. May these days teach us to realize the sacred in our lives, to behold God’s love in the midst of our family and friends, to embrace the patience of Advent in order to see our lives and work through the eyes of God.

Meditation: What issues and concerns most test your patience? Reconsider how you respond and how you view the situation in question.

Prayer: Lord of Advent, may your wisdom illuminate our eyes and open our hearts to behold your presence in our midst. Help us to embrace the grace of Advent patience, that we may stop and behold your compassion and mercy in our days and transform our lives in the peace and hope of your dawning at Christmas.

If you are like me, the observation that some of us consider silence as a sign of something being wrong hit a chord. I am becoming more aware of the blessing of silence in that you can find peace and be open to what God could be trying to tell you if you (me) would be quiet and listen. That’s something I truly am working on this Advent. I no longer need to be talking or “plugged in” every moment that I’m awake.

I hope you enjoy this Advent Reflections as much as I have. Please share any books that you use to help with your daily prayer.

Blessings,
Cathi D.
cathid@mycatholicblog.com

Thanksgiving

I have been thinking about this for awhile now, since Halloween actually, but couldn’t find exactly what I wanted to say about it.

While shopping for my daughter’s Halloween costume (ran out of things in the house to use as a costume), a week before Halloween, I was shocked when I had to walk past the Christmas trees and baubles to get to the Halloween costumes. In a Jerry Seinfeld voice I couldn’t help myself, I said “what’s up with that?”.

The stores have had their product ordered more than a year ago and the stuff couldn’t wait just three more weeks to be displayed? Why is it that we complain about stuff like this but how many do anything about it? You could call, email or even hand-write a letter and I’m sorry to say it wouldn’t do much good. Really the only way to get retailers to allow one holiday to pass or even get close, before getting ready to “sell” the next one is to effect their “bottom line”.

Can you just imagine what would happen if the stock sat on the floor unsold for three weeks? Do you think there would be massive price reductions? Each year that we as consumers allow the season to start earlier is more incentive for retailers to begin “selling” it to us earlier.

I, myself REFUSE to buy a single Christmas present or listen to a single Christmas jingle UNTIL Thanksgiving. I do enjoy listening to Christmas music ON Thanksgiving.

We are now a 24/7/365 society. This can’t be good for us. Have you ever really missed out on anything really important because you didn’t get it early or first? I have found some of the best gifts shopping on Christmas Eve. Actually when you think about it you can shop for next Christmas, the day after Christmas this year which could cause retailers to consider display “Christmas” year round? I know, I know, there’s the Christmas Tree Shoppe. I thought on-line shopping was going to be the solution to this? You can shop on Black Friday in your pajamas so why go out at 5am.

I know this sounds all bah-hum-bug but really it’s not. I would love everybody to stop, relax and enjoy each and every holiday that we have each year. I just don’t see anyone relaxing much anymore. I just want to shout “Stop I want to get off” this crazy train.

Don’t you remember the wisdom of “stop and smell the roses”? It’s important that we not pass-by the opportunities we have to spend time with loved ones, share stories, laugh and sometimes even cry because we didn’t have the time.

My Thanksgiving wish is that this very special holiday for our nation will bring comfort, peace and a true feeling of thanksgiving to all.

God Bless,
Erin