It's bubbling up inside me, this newish thought about Advent, one I've known and never known til now. Seems like I have to circle around an idea several times before I get its essence. So, no groans here, but doesn't it seem true that the reason Advent has been called a time of reflection, of quiet, of recapitulation and silence, is because it is. Yes. But not just randomly. The intention of Advent arises from within our lives as we live them day to day and season to season. After a period of time, a few months, a season, even an extended vacation or hike, our souls need to catch up, they need a time of rest and looking back to reflect on what was good, what wasn't so good, what you'd do differently or what you would keep the same.
Let me see if I have this straight in my head.
If we follow the intention of the Common Lectionary, that is to walk the journey Matthew and Mark have designed for us through their emphasis within their Gospels, then Advent becomes a clearing house after each of the journeys. A respite and an examen. For example, when Rich and I finished our trek through the High Sierra this summer, (take a look back at Fall 2015) we took a few weeks afterwards, to put our feet up, literally, to rest, to affirm, to tend, to reflect, to repair, and to re-enter.
Coincidentally, these are the themes of our Advent season. We begin by affirming God's Kingdom present now in our lives, while we stay watchful of each accumulated event, repair and reflect on the missteps, all the while re-remembering our Being in the glory of our birth and call into our wondrous lives. And finally we re-enter the rhythm of our days to something changed within, a new birth, we might call it, that had been gestating as we walked and transitioned throughout our journey.
From Advent 2014 to now, the Common Lectionary has led us through the hard teaching of Mark's Jesus. As Matthew recorded the destruction of the temple, in like fashion, many of our personal temples also were annihilated...and now Mark has walked with us while we have suffered because of those annihilations. We've come to the end of Mark now. And perhaps the suffering will abate. However, it's time to rest, reflect, examen, and re-enter.
Come. Reflect in the stillness of the Carmelite Chapel, and the quiet chanting of the prayers, while we re-examine and reaffirm our journeys together in Advent of 2015.