We have now entered into Advent — a time of waiting. Advent is not so much about waiting for Christmas morning with excited glee, eager to indulge in all of the holiday festivities. It can be that, but it is also something more — something deeper. Brian Zahnd says that Advent is about lament.
“With the loss of a strong sense of the Christian calendar we have conflated Advent and Christmas into a single ‘holiday season.’ But the truth is that Advent is quite different from Christmas as it carries its strong theme of prophetic lament.”
Advent is a time for us to recognize the fallenness of the world around us and to join the prophets in crying, “Oh Lord, how long?” The waiting involved in Advent, Zahnd says, is a contemplative waiting — waiting not for God to act, but for our souls to quiet in order to see the subtle ways in which God is already acting.
“Waiting for God to act only seems like waiting for God to act. God is always acting because God is always loving the world and always giving birth to something. Waiting for God to act is actually waiting for your soul to become quiet enough and contemplative enough to discern what God is doing in the obscure and forgotten corners, far from the corridors of power or wherever you think the action is.”
May this Advent season lead your soul to recognize the subtle movements of God.