Historically, Advent was a solemn time of preparation for the sacred Feast of the Nativity. We begin by reflecting on the coming of the Lord, even as we face dark themes of judgment and our own deaths. Oddly, this meditation is not for gloom but prepares the heart for joy. It helps to awaken to the wonder of the our salvation in Christ, even as it helps us to reflect afresh on Jesus Christ, Incarnate One. In the Incarnation, we behold God’s love for us even as we behold His love for all creation. Thus, Advent can also be a time of waking up to the wonder of the world all around us.
Here is a treasure of human creation.
Days pass when I forget the mystery.
Problems insoluble and problems offering
their own ignored solutions
jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
their colored clothes; cap and bells.
once more the quiet mystery
is present to me, the throng’s clamor
recedes: the mystery
that there is anything, anything at all,
let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,
rather than void: and that, O Lord,
Creator, Hallowed One, You still,
hour by hour sustain it.
Denise Levertov, The Stream and the Sapphire