Tag Archives: Advent

An Advent Poem

I wrote this poem for Advent a few years back and wanted to share it again as we start another Advent season.

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roses near running waters

Waiting

Waiting with joy
With hope
With great anticipation.

Waiting for peace.
Waiting for Love
Waiting for Joy.

We wait

For loved ones to come home.
For wars to end.
For peace on earth.
For romance.
For love.
For new life.

We wait.

To be together.
To laugh together
To cry together
To remember the past
To look forward to the future
To celebrate.

We Wait.

To celebrate our blessings
Our togetherness
Our hopes
Our dreams.

To celebrate a Baby.
A Baby born in Bethlehem
Many years ago.

A beautiful little Baby
So small
So precious
So innocent
So glorious.

A Baby to warm our hearts
To show us the way
To bring us peace
And love
And joy.

A Baby to bring us everlasting life.

Waiting with joy
To celebrate the Baby
The precious Baby Jesus
The very Son of God.

We wait.

Waiting with hope
With great anticipation

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Advent: Calm in the Chaos

nativity-447767_640Advent.  A time of waiting and preparation, both for the celebration of the birth of our Savior, and for His glorious return.  Sometimes we might feel as though there is too much going on in our lives to truly focus on the Advent season.  But the season of Advent can be celebrated in our hearts in times of quiet prayer and pondering as well as in the midst of hectic preparations.

In the time leading up to the birth of our Lord, Mary and Joseph had a lot going on. The angel Gabriel comes and delivers a most wonderful message to the Blessed Mother and she joyfully accepts the will of the Father, even without knowing exactly what may be involved.  Then an angel of the Lord appears to Joseph to assure him that what Mary said was true.  He, too, accepts the will of the Father and takes Mary into his home.  Suddenly their lives were forever changed.  They had been two seemingly ordinary people preparing to be married.  And now they were married and expecting a child.  Not just any child, but the Son of God! The child they were preparing to welcome into the world would “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

In what I can only imagine was a whirlwind of wonder and joy at the events that were transpiring I am sure that there were also some hectic moments.  Mary went to visit Elizabeth for several months.  They had the usual preparations for expecting a baby.  And rather than staying close to home while waiting for the Christ Child to be born, they had to go and journey to Bethlehem for the census.  Can you imagine being in Mary’s position?  Leaving family and friends and the comfort of the home you have likely been preparing for months for the arrival of a baby, to travel while quite pregnant would be stressful for most of us.  And what about Joseph?  He loved Mary dearly and I am sure he was concerned for his new bride with all the commotion going on.  I can imagine him frantically trying to find a place for them to rest before finding the stable.  I think it is fair to say that most of us would be overwhelmed by it all.

Was Mary overwhelmed?  Were Mary and Joseph stressed out and frantic as their plans kept changing?  Mary and Joseph were people just like you and me.  They had plenty on their plates!  And in their time of waiting, they couldn’t constantly sit back in quiet solitude and contemplate the events that were going to transpire.  They had to continue on in their preparations, deal with changing plans and forge ahead with their lives.  They couldn’t escape the whirlwind of life.

What they could do was make time for the Lord in the midst of it all.  They could trust in His Almighty plan for them, even when things seemed chaotic and confusing.  They could lean on His promises and ponder in their hearts the glorious mystery they had been called to live out.  They could proclaim His goodness even if it didn’t all make sense to them right away.

As we make our way through this Advent season we journey in our hearts alongside Mary and Joseph.  The world around us is hectic.  When everywhere we turn there is commotion and chaos, we can still find the peace of Advent within us.   While we wait for Christmas to come there are things to be done!  Gifts to wrap, cookies to bake, decorations to put up, family get-togethers to plan and attend.  Even if we manage to avoid the frenzied pace that can accompany the Christmas season, what then? After Christmas we will still be waiting for Christ’s glorious return.  Do we truly expect to avoid all stress, all chaos, all commotion for the rest of our lives?

That holy night in Bethlehem when Christ our King was born was truly glorious.  But the journey wasn’t over.  And it wasn’t always calm and peaceful.  Imagine the commotion and uncertainty as they fled to Egypt in the middle of the night to save the Baby Jesus.  And imagine the frantic search for the Child Jesus for three days before finding Him in the temple.  Even with the Son of God living there with them, I am sure that Mary and Joseph had their share of stressful and hectic moments.  We all do!

Try as we might, the Christmas season may not be quiet and peaceful at every moment for us.  We may not avoid all the chaos and commotion in this season or in the months and years to follow.  Even so, we can still find peace.  Emmanuel!  God is with us!  Even in the hectic moments, He is there.  And those moments will seem a little less hectic if we strive to remember that.   When we feel the frantic pressure of waiting in long lines to purchase gifts we can say a prayer of thanks for the loved ones in our lives.  When we find ourselves stuck in an endless traffic jam we can take advantage of the extra time and say a few prayers while we wait.  When life is swirling around us and we seem to find confusion every way we turn, we can trust that God is there beside us even when we can’t see the way ahead.

So this Advent season, if despite your efforts to remain calm and peaceful you find yourself stuck in the midst of the commotion, look to Mary and Joseph.  They show us how to follow the Lord and trust in His ways while still living out our daily lives, crazy though they may be.  Things may get hectic, plans may change, but God remains with us.  He is there in the calm.  He is there in the chaos.  God is with us!  Emmanuel!

The Peace of Winter

Snowfall

Snowfall (Photo credit: Ollie T.)

Yesterday as I left work and began to brush the snow off my car, I found myself marveling at the shimmer coming from the flakes.  It was only about 18 degrees (F) and it was what I refer to as sparkly snow.  The kind of snow that stays light and fluffy and sparkles in so many places it looks magical.  I looked on my coat and could see the perfectly shaped snow crystals still holding their individual beauty even once they had come to rest.  The sun was setting and the gray sky had a faint touch of pink to it as the tiny sparkly snow fell to the ground.  As I sat in my car waiting for it to warm up a tad before beginning the drive home, I felt such peace.

Our winters have much in common with the season of Advent.   There is the excitement of the freshly fallen snow,  sledding, making snowmen and snow angels.  But, like Advent, it is also a time of waiting.  Waiting for spring.  For new plants to come to life, for warmer weather, for sunnier days.

Many times we wait through winter rather impatiently.  We long for the days when you don’t need to bundle up just to get the mail.  We whine and complain about shoveling, slippery roads, high heating bills, and the gray gloomy skies.  We wait and we wait for spring!

But once spring arrives, it isn’t long before we begin to complain about the rain and yearn for the full warmth of summer.  And once the summer is fully upon us?  We complain about the heat and are desperate for fall!  We are constantly waiting for the next season to come.  And it is not only the weather that brings this out in us.  In all aspects of our lives, we seem to be constantly looking forward to the “next thing.” 

In high school and can’t wait to move out and go to college.  In college we can’t wait to graduate and get a job.  We “can’t wait” for marriage, then babies, then a house, more money, better cars, vacations, retirement…and on and on it goes.

The only thing that can keep us content as we wait through winter, through Advent, or through anything in life, is peace.  The 2nd week of Advent focuses on peace.  We need the peace of Christ in our lives.  It is the only thing that gives us rest, that allows us to enjoy the moment rather than rush into what’s next.  The peace of Christ allows our hearts to become still amidst the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season or of any time in our lives.  His peace enters into our hearts and quiets our thoughts.  It opens our eyes to the glorious beauty and wonder around us and lets us soak in God’s goodness without worrying about what lies ahead.

As I look out at the Frosty Footpath - winter snowsnow, I feel at peace.  The snow covered ground silences the noise as the perfect little flakes quietly come down to earth.  The sparkling, glistening snow is so serene, so perfect.  It is a beautiful visual of Christ’s peace in this hectic world we live in.

This Advent season, let us pray that the peace of Christ fill our hearts and souls so that we may be able to simply stop and wait, enjoy the moments we have and see God’s grace and beauty surrounding us.

Advent and the Joy of Christmas

joy

joy (Photo credit: nsdis)

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Matthew 3:1-2

While John the Baptist was preparing the way for Jesus, there was a frenzy!  We read that “the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan” (Mt. 3:5)  Imagine the crowds!  They were seeking him out from all over.  Even the Pharisees and Sadducees came to him, despite the fact that they did not fully believe in what he was saying.  But still they came.

These people did not know Jesus.  They did not know the sacrifice He would make.  They did not yet know He is our Savior.  We know Jesus!  We know about His birth, His ministry, His miracles, His  death and resurrection.  We know that sacrifice He made and we know He will come again!  That knowledge is what fills us with hope, peace, love, and joy this Advent season. 

As we wait and prepare our hearts we should be exploding with joy!  Joy that we can share with others to let them know this is not just any ordinary time…this is a very special time of year!  One of the ways many people share that joy as we prepare for Christmas is through Christmas carols, twinkling lights, baking cookies, decorating the tree, sending Christmas cards, buying presents to surprise those we love, and so on.

It can seem that Advent contradicts the frenzied Christmas atmosphere that has been abundant since Thanksgiving.  That the early onset of constant Christmas music, decorations, and chaotic shopping malls are the opposite of Advent preparation.  But I disagree.  All the music, the decorations, the crowds, the commotion…that is what happens when you prepare for something special!

The season of Advent is all about waiting and preparing.  We pray, repent, spend quiet time in reflection over God’s word.  But as we prepare we are also called to lead the way for the celebration of Christmas!  John the Baptist’s voice rang out in the desert calling out to people as he prepared the way for Jesus! 

We need to do the same.  To call out to people, to let them know something wonderful is coming.  If our joy is authentic, it will become infectious.  And as we prepare for Christmas and for Christ to come again, we should want that joy to spread to everyone! 

Let us pray that through our joyous preparation this Advent season, we will lead those around us to a happy and holy Christmas.  Even if, as the Pharisees and Sadducees, they celebrate in our joy without fully believing or understanding the reason  Even if they are more concerned with elves on shelves and doorbuster deals and Santa…let our joy in Christ be so contagious that they can’t help but journey out of the malls and secular Christmas preparations to see what all the fuss is truly about.

This Advent, let us all prepare the way of the Lord not only in the quiet moments we spend alone with God, but in our everyday actions with everyone around us by spreading hope, love, peace, and the joy that can be found only in Christ with everyone we meet.

“Proclaiming Christ means showing that to believe in and to follow him is not only something right and true, but also something beautiful, capable of filling life with new splendour and profound joy, even in the midst of difficulties.”
~Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel”) November 24, 2013

Waiting in Hope

AdventThis past Sunday began the celebration of Advent – a time of waiting.  We wait for the celebration of Christ’s birth as well as for Him to come again.  The first candle of the Advent wreath symbolizes hope.  And so our season begins with us waiting not anxiously, fearfully, or impatiently; but waiting in hope.

I am not very good at waiting.  I get excited!  My mind drifts and I daydream of things to come in the future.  I find myself daydreaming about a house, a family, traditions we will continue, new ones we will start, and so on.  Sometimes these daydreams lead to worries.  What if our plans don’t work out the way we intended? How long will we have to wait for these dreams to be realized?

Advent comes at a perfect time for me this year.  It is so helpful for me to be reminded that I am not alone as I wait.  Indeed the whole Church is waiting together for Christ.  This comforts me and renews my faith as I feel surrounded by the Holy Spirit.

As we wait for Christmas we should be filled with hope!   We are awaiting such a wonderful celebration – the celebration of the birth of our Savior!  How glorious!  This joyous celebration renews our hearts and souls.  And it all begins by waiting with hope.

We are all on a journey.  All waiting for something.  But the things that we wait for in this world cannot compare to the beauty and wonder that awaits us in the next when we are with our Lord in Heaven forever.  As we begin our Advent, let us all be reminded of His love for us and be filled with the hope that is found only in Christ as we wait in hope for our prayers to be hears, for our Christmas celebration, and as we wait for the Lord to come again.

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope”  Psalm 130:5

An Advent Poem

Waiting

Waiting with joy
With hope
With great anticipation.

Waiting for peace.
Waiting for Love
Waiting for Joy.

We wait

For loved ones to come home.
For wars to end.
For peace on earth.
For romance.
For love.
For new life.

We wait.

To be together.
To laugh together
To cry together
To remember the past
To look forward to the future
To celebrate.

We Wait.

To celebrate our blessings
Our togetherness
Our hopes
Our dreams.

To celebrate a Baby.
A Baby born in Bethlehem
Many years ago.

A beautiful little Baby
So small
So precious
So innocent
So glorious.

A Baby to warm our hearts
To show us the way
To bring us peace
And love
And joy.

A Baby to bring us everlasting life.

Waiting with joy
To celebrate the Baby
The precious Baby Jesus
The very Son of God.

We wait.

Waiting with hope
With great anticipation
For Him to come again
In all His glorious majesty.

Waiting to share
In His everlasting peace
His everlasting love
His everlasting joy

With our loved ones
With the Angels
With the Saints.

With our Father
With His Son
With the Holy Spirit

Together forever
In the never-ending love
Everlasting Peace
Endless Beauty
Overflowing Joy

The joy of the Lord
Surrounded with His love
Forever and Ever in Heaven
All because of a Baby.

We wait.