by Sr Julie Myers, OSF
As I find a quiet corner away from the chaos and noise of my daily life to prepare for the writing of this blog, I’m realizing that we are smack-dab in the middle of Advent—a time of quiet waiting, anticipation and preparing. From the Latin word, Advent means “coming,” –we await the coming of Jesus into our world. Prayer, penance and fasting are appropriate acts of preparing for Jesus to enter our lives.
Yet, I find this time of year so very confusing and chaotic! First, it does not seem that any of us slow down our daily routine to ponder the meaning of Christmas or to prepare for the coming of Jesus into our world. There seems to be less time for quiet and prayer, and more focus on shopping for presents, preparing for parties, and giving our attention to all the events and activities that instead fill the crib.
Secondly, did not Jesus already enter this world blessing it abundantly with his presence, love and wisdom? The baby has been born. How do we raise this child in our own lives? How do we make room for this God who is in our midst, who walks this earth and lives among us in the people and events we encounter? How do we give less attention to the chaos and more attention to the God who quietly calls for our presence and friendship?
Recently, while scrolling through Facebook, I noted an interesting post that resonated with how I’ve been feeling. The person wrote, “We await the coming of our God. Are we failing to see God is already here among us.” Along with their comment, they posted this poem:
is not waiting inside a church
or sitting above the temple’s steps
is the refugee’s breath as she’s running
is living in the starving child’s belly
is the heartbeat of the protest
does not rest between pages
written by holy men
lives between the sweaty thighs
of women’s bodies sold for money
was last seen washing the homeless man’s feet
is not as unreachable as they’d like you to think
my god is beating inside us infinitely”
—Rupi Kaur, The Sun and Her Flowers
Maybe this Advent season, during the chaos of your days, you can give focused attention to the person in front of you—the one you encounter at the store, at work, on the street, in passing, at home. Give them a smile, give them your attention, give them an intentional look of love. That is the gift you are called to give at Christmas…because there within that person is the God who is gift to us all.
How is God beating inside of you? How are you giving the gift of this God-within to others?