Come, Lord Jesus
Jane Gardner, presiding evangelist
“But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory…. But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. -Mark 13:24-26, 32-33
I developed a view of the Advent season that centered on feelings of anticipation, joy, and comfort, but in the Gospel of Mark Advent actually begins in the dark. The sun, moon, and stars do not shine. It feels uncomfortable to start in darkness.
But can the darkness be felt as positive energy, full of potential?
- A secret, homemade tent constructed of sheets and blankets with my siblings after “lights out” involved giggling, singing, and sharing- respite in the darkness. (I wonder, “Did our parents know?”)
- A middle-of-the-night prayer session wrestling with problems and worries ends in feelings of release. My concerns, while not solved, are cared for and surrounded by Spirit in the darkness.
- A stolen moment for connecting with the Divine is experienced in the darkened Temple sanctuary-a surprising intimacy in the enormity of that space.
- A child develops in the warmth, comfort, and darkness of its mother’s womb.
- Wise ones on a wandering journey in the darkness follow the Voice that calls them into the unknown.
We begin Advent in the dark, taking time to be still and present to this process, this time of reflection, contemplation, and spiritual formation. We are reminded of the sacred story. We are open and hopeful, preparing for the intrusion into the darkness: Emmanuel, God with Us.
God-past, present, and future-has, does, and will pitch a tent among us. In Advent we actively wait in the energy of the darkness for God to break in. O God, hear our prayer: Come, Lord Jesus.
Advent Prayer Phrase
“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord” (Psalm 31:24).
Advent Spiritual Practice
Breathe deeply and spend a few moments inviting silence to deepen around you. Pay attention to what is forming in you this day as you prayerfully consider the following questions: What awareness or gift begins to emerge in you through the practice of waiting? When do you notice being invited to resist rushing to the next thing and remain present with what may be slowly unfolding? What can you learn from being fully present in the waiting times?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.