Are you waiting for something? Anticipating something? Perhaps a visit with distant relatives? The beauty of the midnight Mass? The joy of finally finding the perfect gift for the last person on your Christmas list? A Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert, perhaps? The Advent season gives us a lot to look forward to, in the days ahead of celebrating the Incarnation.
We wait for Christmas for a few weeks, as children we opened little windows in our Advent calendars as we counted down the days. But the people before Jesus didn’t have a date. When would the Messiah arrive? What kept them going through their centuries-long Advent age, when the prophecies of Isaiah were known, but not come to pass.
Old Testament passages like this, written long before Jesus was born, give us a clue:
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith for ever;
who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
Yes, they could look forward to the coming of the Messiah, but their God, our God, was already alive and with them, in their lives every day.
The psalm tells us, too, that life wasn’t all sweetness and light. They felt betrayal and abandonment, but God was always faithful. They saw mistreatment and God brought justice. When the pantry was bare, God provided.
So when we sit down to meditate in this season of anticipation and beauty, let us be mindful, not only of our breath and mantra, but of our faithful God, who has been with us for centuries, in miracles, in the flesh, and always in our hearts.
Delivered at Resurrection Catholic Church, Aptos, California, on December 14, 2019.