Someone shared with me a Facebook post by Brian Zahnd, pastor and author who lives in St. Joseph. Here is a portion:
“Advent is for waiting. We begin not with doing, not with celebrating, but with waiting — waiting for God to act.
“Yet most of us — children of a high-tech, high-speed, instantaneous age — are not very good at waiting. It feels too much like doing nothing, and we are the driven ones who take pride in being busy. Waiting is not really our thing…
In our time Advent and Christmas have been conflated, “into a single ‘holiday season.’ But the truth is that Advent is quite different from Christmas as it carries its strong theme of prophetic lament. The world has gone wrong, justice lies fallen in the streets, and it seems that God is nowhere to be found…. All of the Hebrew prophets, each in their own way,” say, “The Lord is coming, God is about to act, but for now…we wait.
“And yet the waiting is essential. For it’s in the waiting that our soul grows quiet and contemplative and cultivates a capacity for aware-ness by which we can discern what God is doing when God does act.
“We have been seduced… into thinking that God is mostly found in the big and loud, when in fact, God is almost never found in the big and loud. The ways of God are predominantly small and quiet. The ways of God are about as loud as seed falling on the ground or bread rising in an oven…. We want God to do a big thing, while God is plan-ning to do a small thing. We are impressed by the big and loud. God is not. We are in a hurry. God is not. We want God to act fast, but Godspeed is almost always slow.
“So we are waiting for God to act, but I would suggest that we are not so much waiting for God to act as we are waiting to become quiet enough to discern what God is doing. God is always acting, because “God is always loving creation. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are always inviting us into their house of love.
“So let me say this to you quite confidently: God is about to act. God is about to act in your life and in our world. But if you want to discern the actions of God you must learn to first wait in quiet contempla-tion. Before you can become an activist, you must first become a contemplative; otherwise you’ll just be a re-activist. And re-activists merely recycle anger and keep the world an angry place.
“May this Advent help prepare you to discern what God is about to do in your life and in our world.”