In the chapel of the Dominican Sisters of Peace, there is a large Advent wreath on a table draped in purple. In the center of the wreath is a beautiful statute of Mary kneeling, with her head slightly bowed. In front of her, the object of her gentle gaze is a small bible, opened to Mary’s song of praise to God (the Magnificat) in the first chapter of Luke. I began to think of the months and weeks that Mary waited for this miraculous birth to unfold. I can imagine that in her waiting, Mary poured out her fears, her doubts, her joys – her very soul before God. She becomes so filled with hope and joy in her waiting that she declares, “My being proclaims the goodness of God; and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” This scene became a powerful reminder, to me, of the grace that can fill our own journey of “waiting” for God.
Waiting is a central theme during the Advent season. Mary’s waiting in expectant joy and hope can guide us in our own waiting during Advent. Her waiting was not passive and her prayer was the foundation for her openness and trust in God which was so evident in her life. For us, too, prayers and scriptures open our hearts to the grace of God in our life. The Isaiah scriptures of Advent are hope filled and proclaim that our God is ready to come and save us. These scriptures help to restore our strength and renew our faith.
Waiting in expectant hope as Mary did, not only opens our hearts to welcome the Word made flesh at Christmas, it also allows us to recognize Emmanuel– God with us in our midst. An essential part of a grace-filled Advent is allowing God to come to us in the midst of our everyday experience. Are we able to wait and welcome God into our midst as Mary did?
May we, like Mary, learn to wait in expectant hope for the coming of Jesus, our Savior, whose continued presence gives us reason to always live in hope.
Have a blessed Advent and if you feel called to help others live in the hope of Christ, call us! (Click here)