Advent—a time that means coming. We associate
it with the coming of Jesus as a newborn baby, but
also as a coming again. We also consider it a time
of preparation for His coming and for all the
trappings that we have added to that: decorations;
special foods, drinks, and desserts; lessons and
carols; concerts; and whatever else may be a part of
each person’s family tradition or cultural heritage.
Coming can often bring with it lots of anxiety, and
this year we have the extra anxiety of a coming new
presidency and administration filled with more
unknowns than we might want to face. In that spirit,
I offer you as both reflection and prayer “Advent”
by Fr. Daniel Berrigan, SJ, found in Testimony:
The Word Made Fresh, published by Orbis Books
It is not true that
creation and the human family are doomed to
destruction and loss—
This is true: For God so loved the world that he
gave his only begotten Son
that whoever believes in
him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and
discrimination, hunger and poverty,
death and destruction—
This is true: I have come that they may have life,
and that abundantly.
It is not true that violence and hatred should have
the last word,
and that war and
destruction rule forever—
This is true: For unto us a child is born, and unto
us a Son is given,
and the government shall
be upon his shoulder,
And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, the Everlasting, the Prince of Peace.
It is not true that we are simply victims of the
powers of evil who seek to rule the world—
This is true: To me is given authority in heaven and
and lo, I am with you,
even unto the end of the world.
It is not true that we have to wait for those who
are specially gifted,
who are the prophets of
the church, before we can be peacemakers.
This is true: I will pour out my Spirit on all
flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy,
your young shall see
visions, and your old shall have dreams.
It is not true that our hopes for liberation of
humankind, of justice, of human dignity, of peace
are not meant for this
earth and for this history—
This is true: The hour comes, and it is now,
that true worshipers
shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth.
So let us enter Advent in hope, even hope against
Let us see visions of love and peace and justice.
Let us affirm with humility, with joy, with faith,
Jesus Christ—the Life of the world.
- During this Advent season, make time
for prayer every day. Return to Fr. Berrigan’s
prayer/reflection/poem above frequently. Also
consider using one of many Advent reflection
booklets, for example the one Pax Christi USA
publishes, available at:
- In addition to Fr. Berrigan’s
“Advent” piece, identify one other thing that
gives you hope and embrace it and share it with
others who may be needing your encouragement.
- As you prepare for the coming of
Christmas, do what makes it most joyful,
calming, and generous for you without forgetting
the true reason for the season. If decorating
becomes more stressful than enjoyable, cut back.
If baking overwhelms you, let it go. If shopping
drains you, choose alternative ways to tell
people you care. Let your priority be Jesus and,
in his honor, people, not things.
- Gift the world with yourself: Commit
to one act of peace-building and justice-making.
Volunteer, write a letter, sign a petition, join
a vigil, or make a charitable donation to
support people in need here at home or overseas.
Stand with your gay, Muslim, immigrant, or
disabled neighbors. Speak out for the Sioux
nations in Standing Rock, ND. Advocate for
refugees escaping conflict in their homelands.
Be Christ for one another.
- When you do shop, especially for
children, keep in mind that we are about to
celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Peace.
Choose accordingly. For ideas,
PCMNY’s flier, “Time to Celebrate Love, Time
to Celebrate Peace.”
Easter Lent Ordinary Time 2015: Christmas
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