The Challenges of Advent

The Challenges of Advent

By Sister Charlotte Sonneville, OSB

When I think Advent, the hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” immediately comes to mind.

But why do we sing, “O come”? Aren’t we preparing to celebrate a birthday that happened over 2,000  years ago? 

I think that the answer lies in the name “Emmanuel,” or “God with Us.” 

Let's follow John the Baptist into the desert for some quiet reflection on how to respond to Christ’s presence in our lives. 

On the First Sunday of Advent, St. Paul, writing to the Thessalonians says, “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another.” 

How often do we take time to recognize the presence of Christ in our loved ones and those with whom we come in contact each day? It's so easy to take them for granted. 

My family used to have an empty manger by our Advent wreath. Each evening, as we said our night prayers, we reflected on any word or work of kindness we had done that day. We could then offer a piece of straw to line the manger for the coming of Christ on Christmas. 

It was symbolic, but it motivated us to really try hard to show the love of which St. Paul speaks.

On the Second Sunday, the prophet Baruch says, “You will be named the peace of justice.” 

When did we last go beyond our comfort zone to work for peace and justice? How can we be an instrument of peace and justice today?

The Third Sunday of Advent is known as “Gaudete Sunday.”  It opens with the challenge to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.” 

When things are going well in our lives, that's not a challenge. When we face loss or other times of grief, however, radiating joy can be quite challenging.

I love Advent because it is a challenging, joy-filled, awe inspiriing season. May its challenges bring you great joy!

Comments (1)

  1. Toni Wilken:
    Dec 17, 2018 at 01:01 PM

    Love Sr. Charlotte’s perspective. Thank you!

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