By Kathy Coffey-Guenther, PhD, senior mission and Ignatian leadership specialist
It seems an almost impossible juxtaposition to attempt to be more deeply present in the dark, still and quiet invitations of Advent when every moment of our cultural nuance tells us that we should be out and about. Out shopping, eating, baking, partying and doing — getting and meeting every dream and need for everyone we love. How to do it all? Or whether to do it all?
These Advent days offer us an invitation to discern just that — how to orient our time and attention this season — by inviting us to stay present and open to that which is Holy and good right in the midst of the celebrations and gatherings, even in the midst of the shopping.
This Holy Presence of Advent invites us to know that where we are is simply that, a moment of time. However, this Advent time and invitation to presence also invites us to reflect honestly upon the fact that where we are allows space to seek how to live our best selves, our most holy selves and our most loved selves. This presence helps us to listen deeply to our desires of the heart and soul that we feel today, right now. This presence allows us to discern whether our chosen life paths are bringing us closer to our God, closer to that sense of our vocational call and closer to that sense of using and living our gifts to serve the greater good.
Many times, living into this Advent quiet and stillness offers an opportunity for us to make any course corrections in our lives that we have been longing for. Advent is a waiting time, a hoping time and an expectant time. Advent offers the grace to re-remember that we are loved by a God that wants to be with us, guide us, teach us, forgive us, hold us, comfort us, and share every breath and heartbeat with us. This is the hopeful, expectant time that Advent can call within us.
Through an openness to Holy Presence, we are called to clarity to see how we make space for this God whose deepest desire is to love each of us. We are called to clarity to see if we have the courage to receive that intimate invitation to be loved so deeply and truly. We are called to clarity to see if we can respond to this love by deeply desiring to love others in return.
Holy Presence — try it!
See what it holds for you this Advent. Be delightfully surprised! See how be-ing present and paying attention to the truth of our lives this season helps clarify your seeing, feeling and priorities this Christmas. Let the shopping, baking and doing be about loving others as Christ loves us. Let this season call a sense of renewed energy and purpose in the One who infuses us with love and let the gladness of that love energize and give hope to all that we meet.
Holy Presence — welcome!