A Rebirth of Wonder
This past Sunday was the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the Christian Year. The color of our paraments (the cloths on the altar, pulpit and lectern) are purple.The Advent Wreath is clearly visible and each week another candle will burn brightly to remind us of the passage of the season. I don’t know what it is like for you, but Advent
is a time when my calendar gets extra full and my life seems to accelerate. The intent of Advent, however, is just the opposite—it is supposed to be a time to slow down and pay attention. In a world devoted to immediate gratification Advent is a time of waiting and watching for God’s presence and to practice being present (I mean really present) to others
Advent is a yearly reminder that the proper posture for a Christian is to wait and watch. That doesn’t mean that we are inactive. No, it calls us to be mindful of the many surprising ways that God is present in our lives. Too often we miss being present in these moments because we are too busy with other, less important things.Some years ago Lawrence Ferlinghetti wrote a strong, sometimes humorous, sometimes angry poem entitled “I Am Waiting.” The poem is a litany of those events for which the speaker is waiting, but especially, as he says again and again, “I am waiting for a rebirth of wonder.” Though not intending to write a “Christian” poem by any stretch of the imagination, in his tribute to the imagination Ferlinghetti has captured the essence ofAdvent. During these weeks we, too, are awaiting a rebirth of wonder, and watching for God’s mysterious entrance into the ordinariness of our world and our lives.
So I will make a radical suggestion. Decline a party invitation or two. Make do with one gift instead of twenty. Take an extra day off from the office. Walk in the woods. Sit in silence. Call a friend with whom you haven’t talked in a long time. Go visit someone who can’t get out. Read the birth narrative in Luke, then a few days later the very different one on Matthew, then even later, the beautiful hymn that begins the gospel of John. Take time to tell someone you love that you love them. You just might experience the rebirth of the wonder that is Advent.
A Rebirth of Wonder