Holy Advent; Holy Hope in Light

Welcome! Welcome! I shed tears of gratitude and joy that you have come round again, O Advent, to shake us from our torpor as early night comes, and the match is struck, and the message is brought home once more; that we are forever in the absence of light; it is beyond us and exterior until we make it welcome and bring it, like a lover, within. Welcome into our deepest void, welcome into the parts of us touched by human frost and stunted. Welcome, O Light, beaming glorious, into remotest apertures of our souls, rays aglow, warmth permeating where we have left old fires unattended and embers to wane, and our abysses to grow chill, and uninhabitable. Welcome light; dispelling illusion, and chasing old ghosts to rest.

With the sunset tonight, the promise is renewed; the story begins again. The beginning; quiescence, empty and void. Then movement; an annunciation; a Word -one boundless, vibrant “yes” that shakes creation; “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God, my savior!” Soon their will be dreams, and silent wondering, and a gathering, and a starry night rent with song. The Word Present penetrates lonely, lost humanity, and enters into the pain and fear, the tumult and whirlwind; He and sets His tent with us not merely dwelling among, but literally with us; with hunger, with the capacity for injury and doubt -with enough vulnerability to be broken- and within this espousal, everything is illuminated!

At The Catholic Answer I write:

Right now, a star is shining brightly; a people are moving toward the places from whence they came; a young woman is great with child; wise men are lifting their eyes to heaven and wondering. The place of our own origin, from whence we came, beckons; it sends a flare as a guide! And the One who is All in All is moving toward us — in breathtaking humility — to show us the way back.

Like Mary, we are great with expectation, and wonder how can this be? Heaven reaching down in song and succor, to cradle the earth; Creator, come down among us, not to observe or direct, but to inhabit and serve. In his lowly, vulnerable birth, God comes as bridegroom, wedding himself to us — divinity to humanity — and shares with us that most intimate privilege of marriage, the joining of two into one, the mutual dependence, the mutual commitment — and nothing can ever be the same.

I have a friend whose mother, after a stroke, had very limited speech. If she wanted to wish you well, or express happiness for you, she would say “Merry Christmas!” It meant everything good, everything full of love.

As we light our first candle of Advent, let us move forward in humble adventuring, seeking out the divine “Yes” spoken from heaven and the faith-filled “yes” whispered on earth. Let us strike a match and cover our faces in prayer, that the lifting up of our hands be as an evening sacrifice, acceptable. Let us eat figs and drink wine, and work faithfully at our labor, and sweep and sing and slumber, until we gather with shepherds and kings, to meet, and to worship, and to tell what we have found.

Then, if we have only “Merry Christmas” to say for the rest of our lives, all around will understand how packed with meaning is the phrase.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    I’m really looking forward to Advent. I need a change. My poor dog has been dying and has only a few days, a week at the most, to live. I’m feeling all sorts of aches of love which is clearly a desire for Jesus. One day this week we will have to make the final decision, and it’s really going to hurt. This Advent will be like no other. Except for my grandfather when I was young, I have never lost a loved one during the holidays. May one day Christ come for the final time and bring all my loved ones back together in one embrace. Come Jesus, come.

  • Victor

    God Bless your dog Manny and I’m going to stick out my neck and call me crazy if you like but long story short, I was literally thrown out of a former church because I didn’t believe that the spirit of dogs in the flesh should not be allowed at Mass where the wine and grape is being changed into The Body and Blood of Christ. Having said that, I must say that I love all dogs and cats just to name a few and longer story shorter, I believe that you and your family will see all your loved “ONES” in Heaven someday including your dog.
    I better quit before I get myself into more trouble and tell The Anchoress that I’ll simply write her another email and knowing very little of you Manny, my heart of heart still believes that like many others that I’ve met on the internet, I honestly believe, you truly have Faith in our Lord Jesus The Christ.
    Hey Anchoress Un word Christian soldier! :)
    God Bless Peace

  • Steven Calascione

    Wonderful!

  • Laurie

    Not an easy decision by any means. My vet said, “you’ll know when is when.” Many prayers that your heartaches not be heavy. Tears and crying are okay. Much peace, Laurie.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Thank you much Laurie. It came faster than we expected. The liver had shut down and she wasn’t eating or urinating for 24 hours. Then she threw up. It was time. This afternoon we put her down.

  • Peggy Bowes

    Thank you for this. Much needed…

  • MeanLizzie

    Manny, I am so very sorry to hear about your dog; I know how heartbreaking this is, all the harder so near Christmas. Please know I will keep you in my prayers, and accept my condolences.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Thank you. :)

  • Laurie

    So sorry. Many prayers, Laurie.


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