Preparing for the arrival of a new infant changes people’s lives. Usually, there is an air of Quiet, Gentleness, Joyfulness, Expectation, Excitement, Hope, Prayerfulness, Helpfulness. The Church’s liturgical season of Advent encourages this by setting aside the 4 weeks before Christmas to help us prepare our hearts for the coming of God.
Advent is a time for peace and quiet so that all of us can detect those hints or signals by which God wants to lead us out of our business as usual to a way of quietness, prayerfulness, and special concern for those, like Jesus, who are being born into poverty and rejection. Like Mary and Joseph we prepare our hearts for the coming of God.
Caryll Houselander has this to say about Advent:
The time of Advent is absolutely essential to our contemplation. If we have truly given our humanity to be changed into Christ, it is essential to us that we do not disturb this time of growth.
It is a time of darkness, of faith. We shall not see Christ’s radiance in our lives yet; it is still hidden in our darkness; nevertheless, we must believe that he is growing in our lives; we must believe it so firmly that we cannot help relating everything, literally everything, to this almost incredible reality.
Like a family expecting a newborn, we join with the church to renew our hearts with love and self forgetfulness, bowing down to enter the manger to feed and clothe the helpless, to right wrongs, to arrange a quiet, gentle space in our hearts to renew our relationship with God and God’s people.