By Sister Susan Hutchens, OSB
When I was a novice in community (first full year) I recall that it was my assignment to decorate the community room in the monastery for Christmas.
It was a very large room! It seemed like an overwhelming task for someone who had trouble just decorating classroom bulletin boards each season!
Fortunately God provided, and I ended up with a number of very creative Sisters who
offered to help.
The room had windows on every side, so not too much could be done with those. But it also had four large round pillars that provided lots of space for decorations to be attached – a bit too much space to just hang Christmas cards.
We used Scripture quotes pertinent to Advent and Christmas, written beautifully in calligraphy on large sheets of paper and wrapped the pillars in those.
With the additions of many Christmas cards and some ribbon, the pillars were lovely.
The Advent readings from the prophet Isaiah provided the quotes. I loved those readings then, and I love them equally today.
Isaiah so often refers to the journey we are called to take – a journey on a “highway” (Is. 35), or being led by God “along the way.” (Is. 48)
God’s glory will be seen when “the desert blooms” and “streams burst forth.”
Such hope-filled words when the snow covers the ground!
Isaiah proclaims to the people that “A highway will be there called the holy way. It is for those with a journey to make … and on it the redeemed will walk.” (Is 35:8-9)
As one who had just begun my Benedictine religious life in this community, I eagerly longed to be on that highway, on that journey toward God.
Forty+ years later, I still find myself relishing the writings of Isaiah, and asking: am I still on the journey, allowing myself to be led by God along that highway? Or have I veered off course? And if so, how can I again find my way back to God?
Advent is a season of hope and longing for Christ’s coming each day into our lives and our hearts.
Christ is always here, pointing the way, leading us in light. How that happens is through prayer, listening, seeing Christ in others as they assist us along this way.
The real question each person must ask is: Where is God leading me? What does my highway look like? Am I on the right journey?
One thing is for certain – the journey God plans for each of us will always lead us home.