Silent Night, Holy Night!
All is calm, all is bright.
Round you virgin, Mother and Child.
Holy Infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Silent Night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia,
Christ the Savior is born!
Chris the Savior is born!
Silent night, holy night!
Son of God love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
with dawn of redeeming grace,
deJesus Lord, at thy birth
Jesus Lord at they birth.”
Advent – to Come – we wait for God to come and be present to us – to show us the way. I would like to offer a few thoughts as we begin this season of anticipation. The harvest is complete and the earth is quietly resting and preparing for a new birth – in the spring. Advent actually ends next spring as we celebrate the feast of Pentecost – a new year – a new beginning. Advent is a time of preparation – of contemplation, a time to reflect on what we are waiting for. One small problem is that we don’t make time to reflect – to contemplate. We are much too busy allowing our consumer culture dictate our actions – and by the time Christmas arrives and departs, we are too worn out – we have maxed out our credit cards, our energy, and the stress of the season only allows us to be grateful that it is finally over with. Our consumer society has completely obliterated the reason that Christmas actually exists – it has become, like our culture, much to complex. And we have forgotten how to pull pack and rejoice – celebrate with a good glass of wine, beautiful music and family gatherings. At this time, we also recognize that the most unfortunate often don’t have close families or the ability to celebrate and that they are part of our larger family – we are all connected as the children of the one God.
In reality, what we wait for, is already here but we don’t know how to see; we are blind; we presume that we can buy love and faith. We forget at times, that love is truly a gift – a gift that cannot be bought and sold. Gospel teaches us that love is freely given and freely accepted. It is like the love of a parent for a new born infant – they cannot “not” love their child, in all of his/her humanity. We hear the marketers tell us that we have to buy and that the markets are filled with wonders and miracles by which we can buy a little love. We “sell our souls to the company store.”
The Good News – the Scriptures teach us that God’s love is absolute and present. W lie cannot earn that love, all we can do is accept it. Our faith teaches us that God resides in human flesh – that God is alive is every grain of sand, of every blade of grass, and in all of life. We hear the stories that teach us that God walks with us on our journey of life becoming. We believe that God walks with in our joys and in our pain — in birth and in death. The liturgies of the church are filled with the words like celebrate, rejoice, love, etc.
The Advent Season does not end with Christmas – it takes us up to the feast of Pentecost, the season of the Spirit of God come alive in all of humanity becoming conscious and aware of the miracles of love and life that surround us and exist within each of us. The common journey is not without struggle and pain, but is a journey that we walk together with that Divine Spirit coming alive within each of us. We are all pregnant with life coming to be and are called to take some time each year to contemplate – to reflect on that silent night filled with peace and to come to peace with the ongoing creation and then to understand that we are really not in charge – and to let go of the illusions of grandeur and superiority. We are like the grains of wheat or corn planted with the spirit of God, bringing forth life; the life that we receive from a loving God, born once again in our hearts.