An Advent Reflection by Sister Michaelene
Every season has its own beauty and Advent is no exception. Often the music we hear and sing, gives expression to the spirit of the season. Christmas is joyful; Lent is rather somber; Easter and the following days are glorious and triumphant; while Advent’s music is peaceful, quiet, with a profound sense of gentle waiting.
During this season, at the close of our Night Prayer, we sing in the lovely hymn, O, Loving Mother,
“You gave birth, dear Mother, while nature stood in awe, To your own all-holy Maker.
Ever virgin, after and before, you received from Gabriel, that first solemn Ave!”
These words state so well the awe, the tranquil joy which pervades Advent and for which we pray in our own lives. Obviously, there are times during Advent when our days are less than tranquil, but we are continually called back to the stillness of Mary’s prayer and presence and beg her to help us in our own preparation for the birth of her Son.
Mary’s everyday life was as busy as ours – perhaps even busier – but there was about her an aura of peace that we try to cultivate as we live day by day. Surely, she experienced some turmoil with the appearance of an angel and the unexpected message the angel brought her! It did not exactly fit in with the life she and Joseph had hoped and planned for. Yet somehow, the Child within her, having found a welcome in her life, gave her the gift of peace and an ability to trust in the God who had so mysteriously called her to walk a new path.
In the last week of Advent, we ponder the O Antiphons, found in that most familiar of hymns
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
O Come …Thou Wisdom from on High,
… Lord of heaven’s Might… Rod of Jesse’s stem…Key of David
…Dayspring from on High…Desire of nations…Come!
In the words of a modern poet, a puzzled Mary questions, not the angel but the Child now living within her,
O Come, Thou Rod of Jesse’s stem,
The Stars will be thy diadem
How can the infinite finite be?
Why choose, Child, to be born of me? *
This Child born of Mary is alive in us! Here is the miracle of Christmas when we, with our less-than-perfect response to God, can sing with amazement and gratitude,
“Why choose, Child, to be born of me?”
*Madeleine L’Engle. A Cry Like A Bell, p 53