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Reflection - First Sunday of Advent 2018

Dominique Baroco, Associate

After Thanksgiving, I start to think about Advent and Christmas immediately. I love Advent! Maybe it’s the purple and pink candles (I love colors!) or maybe it’s the anticipation leading up to Christmas, but I have always enjoyed Advent. I am usually ready to take a break from the busy-ness of life, shift gears to a more reflective mode of anticipation and preparation, and simply ponder the joy of the all that comes with the celebration Christ’s birth at Christmas. With this peaceful longing, I sat down to read this Sunday’s readings and prepare my thoughts. At the age of 43, I know that I have heard all of these readings before, many times, and yet they still surprise me. This week, these readings shook me out of my “peaceful preparation” mode and woke me up a bit.

Powerful words like “perplexed,” “die of fright,” and “shaken” provided an unexpected jolt. My mind was uncomfortable; my spirit restless. I re-read all 3 readings again and again…looking for that peaceful, easy feeling my heart, soul and mind anticipated before I started. I settled on the opening of the second reading from the Letter of St. Paul, “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all.” Now, I was torn between pain and love; struggle and joy.

Perhaps it’s my bias of 6 pregnancies, perhaps it’s the bias of my love of baby Jesus and the Holy Family, but as I tried to connect with these words I thought of the process of pregnancy, labor and delivery. There were many moments along those journeys where I thought I might “die of fright,” for example with the birth of my 3rd child, Paul. I felt like I knew exactly what to expect, having already gone through this process twice – with similar and successful experiences. However, Paul arrived quickly and painfully. I was so frightful, perplexed that things were not going as expected, completely shaken. Yet, with his arrival, we all abounded in love…which triumphed nearly instantly over the unexpected challenges of his birth. And, the entire experience left me humbler and readier to embrace the unpredictable in the next 3 births.

Looking at this Advent after the “fright” of the powerful words of these readings has me in a similar humble state. I am just a bit uncomfortable now and even feeling vulnerable. My senses are on alert. My spirit is not neutral, but engaged and attentive. Luke warns us later in the Gospel to “not become drowsy” so we are not caught by surprise. You got me, Luke… I am definitely awake, vigilant, and more prepared for this Advent season.

 

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