Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ready to Wait?!

Happy First Sunday of Advent! I must admit, the little dork inside of me got a little bit giddy with Father started his homily today recognizing that this is the first day of our new year. I LOVE NEW YEARS'. I know it's usually all hype with a lot of letdown when we drop lots of cash just to see a ball drop; we have expectations of what the new year will bring and who we will spend it with (and who we will kiss at midnight) and then January 1st comes and it's like any other day.

I think I have the same expectations for Advent. I worry about what I'm going to do to 'prepare' and then I spend so much time worrying and upset that I'm not doing what I need to prepare, that I don't enjoy the present. It hit me today that Advent is about the Present. Yes, we wait for what the future will bring, but we can't get wrapped up too much in the past or future. It's what we do in the present.

The Gospel today warns us to be ready: "Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36) And this can either freak us out about the future, get us all self-loathing about the past OR we can be ready EACH DAY and live EACH DAY well in the present.

My 81 day novena is FINISHED! And as I noted a couple posts ago, funny how God works- Advent is beginning just after it ended! So more waiting. But I found with the novena there was much benefit in the waiting- the praying of the prayer each day and making the most of it- not worrying about what the outcome will be. And so I am approaching Advent in the spirit of that novena. Waiting for the outcome of the novena with the Lord and Mary and the rest of the world, but also grateful for what God is doing in the present, regardless of the outcome.

I did not pray the novena perfectly, but I cannot worry about the past. I don't know what the results of it will be, but I cannot worry about the future. I will wait now with the rest of the Church in Advent- and it's kind of awesome that God planned it all this way without our realizing it!

You KNOW I am not 'that girl' all about the cheezy catch phrases, but I'm realizing there is something to be said about that 'gift' of the 'present' (and yeah, I know that clever word play doesn't really necessarily translate with other languages, but whatevs). Yesterday was a beautiful day where past and present got to meet- a bunch of my college friends and I met up in Camp Hill, PA to support our friend Dan who is battling leukemia. It was truly a gift of the present. We couldn't hold onto the past, and we can only hope for the future. But we really got to live that gift of the present with our friend and all the hope that was present that day (You can check out more about Dan and how to support him and his family during this time here

One of my best friends asked me yesterday how I was doing with job, vocation, etc. It always sounds when I'm explaining to people that I still have not gotten the job or vocation that I want or expect that I am complaining or sad. I couldn't stress to her enough that while I wasn't in my ideal job, I was getting affirmation and love about the present from Jesus and I knew it is where God wants me. This Advent I am praying that I can express the JOY of waiting. The JOY that can be in this present, even if it isn't what we expect or want. The JOY that comes with receiving and giving gifts.

For isn't that what the spirit of Christmas is really all about? Just call me Tiny Tim ;)

Happy Advent, everyone! Let's wait in JOY together as we struggle to live the present with HOPE.


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