An Advent Meditation

Posted: 12/14/2015

Father Dan Dorsey, formation directorDecember is such a hectic month: parties, shopping, Christmas cards, decorating. There are so many expectations; it is almost as if we are hostages of the season. One day blurs into another. Christmas day often finds us exhausted and uninspired.

Time can be seen as our enemy, and yet something as simple as an Advent wreath reminds us of the profound event that is unfolding before our eyes. Its candles illuminate the darkness of December and mark the days of Advent.

I invite you to take a few moments away from the busyness of this season to ponder the mystery of the Word becoming flesh. Walk with me on an Advent journey.

First, find a place that is peaceful. Be sure it is in a location where you will not be disturbed. Sit in a comfortable chair (but not too comfortable) and close your eyes. Allow the quiet to take hold of you.

Imagine that you are alone in the middle of a forest and snow is gently falling to the ground. There isn't a sound—it is quiet and peaceful. A sense of serenity and well being comes over you as you gaze at the snowflakes. Time seems to stand still.

Listen to the quiet.

Listen to the sound of your heart and life. The sounds are faint but unmistakable-your dreams, discouragements, hopes and fears. Do you hear what I hear?

As you become more accustomed to the quietness you hear the voice of a young woman in the distance. The voice sounds vaguely familiar. It is like the voice of a loved one that you have not seen for a long time. It is clear and gentle but troubled. The woman seems to be in conversation with another person.

The fear in her voice is subtly different from the fear that you have known in your life. It is at once a combination of doubt and awe. She questions her visitor: "How can this be...?" (Lk 1:34)

A familiar question, one you have asked many times in your life. It is a question rife with confusion and bewilderment.

Other words are spoken, but you can't make them out. Then there is quiet.

Listen to the quiet. It is filled with the dark of nights and the light of days. It contains the hopes and fears, the doubts and joys of humanity from the beginning of time.


After a long time you hear these words spoken: "May it be done to me according to your word." (Lk 1:38)

A few words uttered by a young woman transform the quiet in an instant. The Son of God is made flesh. The Light of the World pierces the darkness of human hearts. The eyes of the blind are opened. The deaf hear. Swords become plowshares. Suddenly, thousands of joyful voices fill the quiet: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." (Lk 2:14)

As your Advent journey draws to a close, take a few moments to listen again to the sounds of your heart. Do you hear a voice raising Mary's question ("How can this be?" or "How can I do this?") as you listen deeply to whatever God is calling you to become or to do during these December days?

Let the serenity and quiet of the snowy forest give way to the joy and hope that is born of Mary. Remember that God is waiting to be born in each of our lives as well. Will you say yes?

Rejoice—a new and glorious day has dawned! Christ is the Lord!