As a missioner I have often felt a bit overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities leading up to Christmas. With so many expectations and obligations, by the time December 25 rolls around I can feel uninspired and exhausted.
Have you ever felt that way around the holidays?
If you feel the busyness of the season is supplanting the joy of the season, then please pause and join me in an Advent meditation.
First find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Sit in a comfortable chair and close your eyes. Take a number of deep breaths and allow the quiet to take hold of you.
Imagine you are walking through the woods on a December afternoon and it begins to snow—the snow is like a blanket that gradually transforms the forest into a peaceful enclave. As you breathe the cold air, you are overcome with a sense of well-being.
You pause for a moment and marvel at the beauty of the trees and the gently falling snowflakes.
It is so very quiet here. Listen to your heart in the quiet. Invite God’s peace to fill your heart.
In the distance you hear the voice of a young woman. Her voice is clear and gentle but somewhat troubled. She is in conversation with another, but it’s only her voice that you hear.
The fear in her voice is subtly different from the fear you have known in your life. “How can this be?” she says (Luke 1:34). A question at once filled with doubt and awe.
You have asked this question often in your life when you have found yourself confused and bewildered. The conversation continues and then once again there is quiet.
Listen to the quiet… It is filled with the dark of nights and the light of days. It contains hopes and fears, the doubts and joys of humanity from the beginning of time.
After a long time, you hear a single word clearly spoken: “Yes” (Luke 1:38).
One word uttered by a young woman transforms the quiet in an instant. The Son of God is made flesh. The Light of the World pierces the darkness of human hearts. The eyes of the blind are opened. Swords become plowshares. Suddenly thousands of joyful voices fill the quiet: “Glory to God on the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14).
As your advent journey draws to a close, take a few moments to listen again to the sounds of your heart. What is God calling you to do during these December days?
Let the serenity and quiet of your walk give way to the joy and hope that is born of Mary. Our dear Savior is waiting to be born in each of us as well.
Rejoice! A new and glorious day has dawned. Christ is the Lord!
—Father Dan Dorsey
This reflection first appeared in the Winter 2019 Glenmary Challenge magazine.