It is the beginning of a new church year. We call the season Advent to signify that someone or something is coming. All our prayers and music celebrate the presence of Christ in our lives. We also look to Christ continuing to move more deeply into relationship with us, a progressive second coming.
What does that actually mean for us in our time and in our world? I would like to suggest that it is an alternate path to the transformation of the world. Neither military force nor doctrines, neither false leaders nor true; no systems of any kind have been able to save us from ourselves, or the world from our predatory behaviour.
I think people of faith, in all the religions of the world, need to commit ourselves to the life of prayer. By that, I mean the conversion of our hearts to listen without arguing, to act without counting productivity, to open ourselves to the healing, winnowing spirit of Christ. It will be the risk of vulnerability, of being changed, of following the one who worked in relationships rather than systems.
As a personal discipline this advent, I would invite you to say this simple prayer as many times a day as you think of it. “All life is sacred. Thank you for my life and for all that lives. Jesus come into my heart.”
May this season fill you with hope, in the bright and in the dark of your life. May Christmas bring delight in your relationships and in what you value most. May the holy family find shelter with you. May Christ come to your feasting table.