Before Incarnation Comes the Silence

We associate the Christ Child’s arrival with angelic pronouncements and nighttime fanfare: the heavenly hosts singing and sending brilliant disturbance into the lives of shepherds, townspeople, and even great kings. However, as we approach our celebration of the great event, let us consider its silent aspect. Before holy announcement opened the skies, the darkness sparkled quietly with distant stars. Shepherds could hear the normal sounds of wind moving across the landscape and creatures sleeping or […]

Three Characteristics of Advent Waiting

Advent is a time of waiting. But not all kinds of waiting are alike. In Advent, we wait in a special way. 1. Advent waiting is expectant. Many years ago, when I was expecting my first child, I felt a deep connection to Mary in the Nativity stories. As I noticed my stomach beginning to swell, awaited feeling the first kicks, and wondered what it would mean to become a mother, I waited with an […]

How Do We Wait?

Advent is a time of awaiting the Lord. But there are many ways in which we can wait. Zechariah awaited the fulfillment of the angel’s words with confusion and doubt. Yet the Lord delivered on his promise. Elizabeth awaited expectantly and greeted Mary with hope. And the infant leapt in her womb. Mary awaited faithfully, pondering and trusting in the angel’s reassurance not to be afraid. And the Lord was with her and within her. […]

Waiting Well

“For you, O Lord, my soul in stillness waits; truly my hope is in you.” —Marty Haugen, “My Soul in Stillness Waits,” based on Psalm 62 Tick…tick….tick… Won’t we ever get out of here? How long until my order arrives? When will he come home? When is the baby due? Will this fog never lift? When will this traffic move? Won’t she ever call back? When will they finally get here? How long will it […]

When to Sing Alleluia

“From holy Easter until Pentecost without interruption let ‘Alleluia’ be said both in the Psalms and in the responsories.” —from The Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 15. Last fall, my students and I read the Rule of St. Benedict, and I invited them to rewrite a chapter or two to suit their secular community of college students, an assignment they took up with verve. Chapter 15—when to sing the Alleluia—became a chapter on when it […]

I Can’t Wait

My daughter just sent the dates when her family will be with us over the Christmas week. I can’t wait to see them. I can’t wait to decorate our tree and set up our plywood manger scene on the lawn. I can feel a sense of excitement building. How often do you say, “I can’t wait,” and mean a sense of eagerness and longing? We all know the other kind of waiting: slow-motion moments filled […]

Advent Waiting

I’m usually not a big fan of waiting. My wife and I are pregnant, and our daughter is due to arrive at the very end of December. These days are hard! I want our little girl to be here already. “Have patience,” a voice inside me says. Indeed, the word patience comes from the Latin word patior, meaning “to suffer.” How true. Waiting is not always easy. Many have pointed out that our waiting coincides […]

In God’s Waiting Room

Swirling ideas, wresting thoughts, and mixed-up emotions vie for my attention. Come, Holy Spirit. I sit still for what I hope will be a time of prayer. What will emerge? I trust. I wait. I thank God in advance for what will be. But my stillness leads to tangents. I am preoccupied by a decision I need to make, and people are waiting to know my choice. I’ve been invited to add one more good […]

Are We There Yet? No!

Many years ago on a drive to the Story Land amusement park, my three- and five-year-old boys screeched in the back seat with excitement. Every 30 seconds it seemed they would beg in anguish, “Are we there yet?” My husband’s patience grew thin, and his responses became an increasingly terse “No!” In a moment that we all now laugh about, my husband threatened to stop the car and turn around if the boys asked one […]

The Red Machine on the Wall

Greg Kennedy, SJ, shared an Advent poem on the igNation blog. Here’s a taste. We’ve all taken numbers from the red machine on the wall. Above, red periods on a screen combine into figures that put our time in its place; we wait and wait efficiently.

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