Awakening to the Meaning of Advent by Sr. Catherine Cleary

Sometimes images, metaphors, stories and poetry awaken us to the meaning of Advent and Christmas as much as praying the Scriptures. The following is a story that awakens me and perhaps it will awaken you. The story’s source is unknown.

When I was 9 years old, my father was my hero.  He had deep blue eyes, his smile was infectious, he was very loving. As a rabbi he was often gone from our home, visiting the sick, helping the poor, preaching the scriptures.  That is why one day I was so excited because he asked me to hitch up the horse to a wagon and I could go with him on a ride.

I quickly hitched up the horse and cart and my father jumped in beside me and began to drive very fast.  We traveled down roads I had never gone down before; we went up and down hills, over curves and around corners.  My father did not tell me where we were going, so I just stood beside him very happy to be with my father.  Eventually my father slowed down the horse, stopped by the side of the road. I could not see any houses but I could see smoke, which was coming from a house deep inside the woods. My dad jumped out and told me to wait for him; he would be back in a while.

I waited and waited…who was my father visiting? What were they talking about.  After what seemed like a very long time, my father and another man walked from the woods to the side of the road.  They both looked very serious, even sad.  I could hear the stranger say, “Are you sure the people are not ready?”  My father said, “Yes, I am sure they are not ready. My father and the stranger had tears in their eyes as they embraced.  The stranger turned away and my father jumped into the cart.

My father did not speak, he drove very slowly on the way home.  As we got near our home, I decided to ask my father who the man was that he visited.  His answer, “That was the Messiah!”

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