Advent is about waiting and preparing for the Lord in a sense of awe and expectation. The Advent Season starts with a desire and patience to wait for the birth of baby Jesus with hopeful seeking.
At the same time, Advent includes and coincides with our expectant and joyful anticipation of His coming again. “Adventus” in Christian Latin literally translates to the Greek “Parousia”, meaning “coming”, specifically, “Second Coming”.
Both women and men can understand all the emotions coming together in the birth of a baby and the patient waiting that is involved. A promise of joy and love during this incredible time of new-birth brings us closer to our God. We find Him residing in all places and beyond all comprehension in all love and holiness.
Looking at the World we find chaos. It is often at these times that we see the illumination of His light coming forth from the most unexpected times and places. When we look around our World today, we see chaos everywhere. The world seems to be speeding out of control. Can the celebration of the birth of a small, helpless child born of a virgin in a stable more than two thousand years ago help us today to make some order of this chaos?
Calmness amidst chaos always is a much-welcome addition to any disaster-ridden scenario. It has the power to change lives and situations in phenomenal ways, often during earth-shattering experiences. The hope of better things to come is present even in tense strife. If we have made room in our hearts for hope to exist, then it is waiting when we need it the most.
How does anyone know how he or she would react during an emotionally explosive event? There are often life or death decisions to be made in a flash of time. The Holy Spirit, the internal guide we listen to from our Holy Father, spurs us to move in ways we never thought possible.
I am remembering Dorago, the seeing-eye dog, who led his master down 71 flights of stairs to safety on 9/11 after one of the Twin Towers was getting ready to implode. Dorago, a Labrador retriever, had been let off his lead by the blind Mr. Rivera to enable him to run out of the building to save himself from the engulfing flames. Love brought this beautiful dog back and both he and his master were saved. Mr. Rivera simply hoped for his beloved dog to live and he received so much more than he anticipated. Christ was there.
It was 1914 on the Western Front during the early days of the horror that was WW1 when an amazing event occurred. For a 24-hour period, life changed for all participants when violence from Christmas Eve through Christmas Day was spontaneously suspended. A simple all-knowing nod escalated into an emergent action that became a ‘ceasefire’. It was clearly one of the brightest spots of any war that Earth has ever known. One simple desire at a Season of anticipation accepted and produced peace for a moment in time. Christ was there.
Wesley Autrey saw a disaster in the making and he acted; he acted as if his life depended upon it. He acted to save another’s in a flash when all seemed doomed for an epileptic teen. Mr. Autrey jumped on NYC subway tracks to protect this fallen stranger by covering him with his body. He acted in complete unselfishness leaving his two daughters with a total stranger in the station. Wesley knew in his heart that he was the only one that could avert a tragedy. And he hoped for and expected the best amidst chaos. Incredulously both survived, passing all understanding. Christ was there.
From a devastating earthquake in China last May came a story of love in the middle of unspeakable turmoil. A mother was found in Beichuan kneeling over her infant as she tried to save it from impending death. The baby was miraculously found without a scratch huddled under a loving mother’s arms. Tucked inside the tightly snuggled blanket was a small cell phone with the texted message: “My dear, if you can survive, please remember I love you.” The mother did not survive to know her infant’s fate. Her love, however, came out of the rubble and tragedy of this bleak day to shine upon an innocent child. And Christ was there.
In the mid-19th century, Bret Harte wrote a short-story called “The Luck of Roaring Camp” about a baby that is born into a rugged gold-prospecting camp. As the story goes, the mother, ‘Cherokee Sal’ died in childbirth and the men took it upon themselves to raise him. The child changes them and their lives on all levels, forever. Just like Jesus.
During our Advent Season, my hope is for all to find Jesus in all their places. As we wait and hope and love, Christ is there.
by DFRaborn, B.A.
dfr 30 November 2008 Soli Deo Gloria