First Sunday in Advent: Keep Awake…

You do not know when the master of the house will come,
in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow or at dawn,
or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly.
And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.
-Mark 13:35-37

Keep Awake!

Be alert, be alert, so that you will be able to recognize your Lord in your husband, in your wife, your parents, your children, your friends, your teachers, but also in all that you read in the daily newspapers. The Lord is coming, always coming. Be alert to his coming. When you have ears to hear and eyes to see, you will recognize him at any moment of your life. Life is Advent; life is recognizing the coming of the Lord…

Still, I keep making my mistakes. Tonight I went to The Stuntman, a movie about the making of a film. The movie was so filled with images of greed and lust, manipulation and exploitation, fearful and painful sensations, that it filled all the empty spaces that could have been blessed by the spirit of Advent… Why do we keep missing the most obvious signs of God’s coming and allow our hearts to be filled with all those things that keeps suggesting, not that our Lord is coming, but that nothing will happen unless we make it happen?

I hope and pray that Advent will not be filled with stuntmen, but with the Spirit of him who invites us to listen carefully to the sounds of the New Earth that are manifesting themselves in the midst of the old.

Good and gracious God, you know how much clutter fills my heart these days. Help me to pay attention to your presence in my life. Help me to look far and find opportunities this Advent to become more aware of how you touch my life each day. May I become evermore a sign of your love in the world. Amen.

From Henri Nouwen

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