Thoughts on Advent Going into 2024
THOUGHTS ON ADVENT GOING INTO 2024
What better time than Advent to ask what God invites me to focus on during this next year?
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
When Advent comes around again each year, I try to focus on waiting for the wondrous gift of the holy child’s birth. I try not to rush past the waiting to arrive prematurely at the star, the angels and the stable.
As I wait at a stop light while four cars go by with evergreens tied on top, a voice in my head says, “Get your tree! You can decorate it with blue things and call it an Advent Shrub.”
This year the Advent question, “What are you waiting for?” is rattling around in my head, but with an extra bite.
- I have a to-do list that I am procrastinating. What am I waiting for?
- I probably need knee replacement surgery and have been through an internal debate about when to have it. What am I waiting for?
- In the back of my mind, bad things seem possible or inevitable in the public sphere. I find myself holding my breath, not really sure why. What am I waiting for?
Lately it has become clear to me that I need to work on my reliance on God’s grace and providence. My faith is weak that God will work God’s purposes out as year succeeds to year. My anxiety needs someplace to go, but I am waiting for a revelation of what I should do.
PRAY, OF COURSE
I need search no farther than this month’s Intercession Paper to find just the right prayer. The fun thing is, I know the Companion who wrote it. Her smile and voice come to me with the prayer.
We wait for your second coming.
“How long, O Lord?”
I hear a patient sigh.
“My beloved child, I have come to you many times,
in many ways, but you haven’t been paying attention. I am in every act of kindness, small and large. I am in every cry for justice, every cry for peace, every desire for reconciliation, every movement for growth, every dream that disturbs your sleep.”
Now I pray,
“Open my eyes that I might see You
at work in your world.”
Anne Ritchings, SCHC
ECHOES OF FERLINGHETTI
Free-associating, I hear, “I am awaiting a new rebirth of wonder.” I know the source, a Ferlinghetti poem, “I Am Waiting” from A Coney Island of the Mind, published in 1958.
When I was a teenager in Billings, Montana, in the ‘60s, my friends and I became fans of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, e.e. cummings, and Alan Ginsberg. Our English teacher, Charlie Nesbitt, had cosmopolitan tastes.
I just looked the poem up. Thanks, Internet! Here are some snippets from the full poem that resonate with me today.
and I am waiting for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for the meek to be blessed
and inherit the earth
and I am waiting for forests and animals
to reclaim the earth as theirs
and I am waiting for a way to be devised
to destroy all nationalisms
without killing anybody
and I am awaiting
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder.
ADVENT COMES TO AN OLD WOMAN
Yeah, in addition to everything else, I’m grappling with ageing. I’m not quite ready to call myself old-old.
However, “what am I waiting for?” may be ringing in my ears because of a few changes in my body’s daily reality.
What better time than Advent to ask what God invites me to focus on during this next year? What does my human and Divine Savior picture for me?
I know God gives me the sun, moon and stars every day of my life. The loves, the learnings, the life experience. What more could I want? I’ve been formed by being a Companion since 1991, so my first thought—or maybe my second sometimes—is to be thankful.
I will take the hint and be thankful for the darkness of December afternoons, when books, cozy tea, and time for daydreaming call to me.
REFRAIN: WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
I would love to know this: What are you waiting for?
If you want to share, you can use the contact form at the foot of this webpage—I’m currently the one who receives and routes them to the appropriate Companion for a response.
I will enjoy corresponding with you. Let’s dream about a rebirth of awe and wonder and joy.
Blessed Advent to every one of you!
Photo by Kris Leinbach