Advent: A time to reflect on God's presence Print
Cutting Edge
Thursday, Dec. 01, 2011 -- 12:00 AM

Cutting Edge by Sr. Margie Lavonis

An Advent homily that often comes back to me during this time of the Church year was delivered by a priest who shared what he was doing for Advent to help him appreciate the true meaning of the season.

For that Advent he would slow down and stop at every yellow light and wait patiently for it to turn green. This little exercise would hopefully remind him of the people of God who waited so long for the Messiah to come and save them.

Advent is always a good time for me to reflect upon the virtue of patience and how much I need to exercise it in my often-hectic life.

Life in the fast lane

Like many people in our society, waiting does not come naturally to me.

Our culture promotes instant results. Commercials tell us we can lose 10 pounds in 10 days if we do such and such. We often gobble down our meals or eat them on the run so we can work on our next activity.

We take medicines that promise quick relief from whatever ails us and rush to the express checkout lanes in the grocery store.

We upgrade our computers so they go faster and faster. Slow traffic and slow people tend to frustrate us.

Even God often does not answer our prayers on our timeline. It boils down to the fact that many of us just do not like to wait too long for anything or anybody. We want to see results right away.

A quiet, patient spirit

For Catholics and some other Christians, Advent affords us the opportunity to exercise the virtue of patience.

In the midst of the hustle and bustle of this often-frenetic pre-Christmas time, the Church gives us the opportunity to slow down and to reflect upon the true meaning of the season.

We celebrate the coming of Jesus at his birth and the fact that he will come again, but we also celebrate the many ways he comes to us in our daily lives.

Like the He-brew people, it takes patient waiting and a quiet spirit to discover his presence in our daily lives and in other people and events.

Now more than ever we need to eke out those quiet times when we can calm down and reflect upon God’s activity in ourselves and in our world. Without patience and willingness to wait, we may miss his presence in our lives.

When we are constantly in a hurry we miss the beauty of nature or the twinkle in the eye of a child.

When we rush from one activity to another we may not see the people around us that silently cry out for our attention and assistance.

When we are too busy to pray or just be with the Lord, we miss the deep peace and sense of security and trust that comes with a close relationship with our God.

Taking time for our Savior

Yes, Christmas is coming but so does God come every day in people and events.

Let us strive to slow down so we don’t miss the One who loves and saves us.

Say a little prayer the next time you wait for the light to turn green or are in a long line while shopping for Christmas. Take time to remember the gift of life in Jesus that God has given to each of us.

With our poor economy and so many people unemployed or underemployed we have a great opportunity to ponder the true meaning of Christmas and not get caught up in the overly materialistic behavior typical in this country especially at this time of the year.

Christmas is not about parties and the presents we receive and give one another. It is about a caring God who loved us so much he gave us his only son.

Sr. Margie Lavonis, a freelance writer, is a Sister of the Holy Cross, Notre Dame, Ind.