As we joyfully enter the season of Advent, there is both a seriousness and an excitement that fills my heart! What I mean by this is, I still get butterflies in my stomach as I turn back the flaps of each day on the Advent calendar, bringing us one day closer to Christmas. The tree, the stockings, peppermint in the air (and in my coffee), snow on the ground, happy bustling people in the stores, hot ovens producing delicious creations everywhere! Festive red and green outfits and ugly sweaters (that somehow caught on as a “thing”), holiday parties, and renewed traditions such as caroling door to door!
Everywhere I look, I find that joy is truly in the “air.” It is contagious during the season of Advent. With all the merry joy, anticipation, and smiles from strangers, my own spirit of charity is strengthened as well. Increased desires to give to those who are less fortunate, visit a home for the elderly in my community, or even just shovel the neighbors drive and bring cookies to a friend having a hard day. Ultimately; I like who I am, and who everyone else is for that matter, at Christmas. The empty manger awaiting our little wooden (peg doll) Jesus, is a constant reminder that the real coming presence cannot be contained in our whole household, much less a tiny bed of straw!
Enter: serious reflection, and dare I say even…anxiety? Yes, I said it! For it’s the same tension I get in my throat when I hear the parable of the bridesmaids, who slumbered and slept, ran out of oil for their lamps, and missed the bridegroom’s coming. Christ is coming! Each Advent I am reminded of this, and it has a much more serous connotation for my soul than a jolly man with a beard and a jelly belly, on a sleigh pulled by reindeer. Again I say, Christ is coming!
How are you doing, soul? Not enough prayer to water you and help you grow? Not enough time for reflection to give you the peace you need to hear the voice of the one who created you? Who do you put first, soul? Do you know that Christ is coming? Are you ready?
I know I’m not worthy. In fact, the Church in her wisdom knows that none of us are. This is why we echo the words of the centurion in Matthew’s gospel, when the Host is lifted before us. “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, BUT only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” My soul is sick and dying, in terrible distress, lying paralyzed at home, just like the centurion’s servant. And I know that I am not worthy for Christ to come “under my roof.” But. And it is the “but” that saves us. Faith saves the centurion and it saves our souls as well.
Would Jesus, could Jesus, marvel at my faith? He marveled at the centurion’s faith, because he did not need to see it to believe it. He was a man under authority, and he believed that if Jesus said it, it would be done. Am I living under authority? Do I recognize the authority of God, my husband, spiritual director, and those my vocation enlists me to respect? Do I know and trust authority in my life, or am I floating like a seed in the wind?
When I receive the Host, when I receive healing, words of direction and wisdom, divine inspiration, and even discipline, I do believe. I believe that Christ is coming, and that Advent prepares me to receive him, so that he may say; “Be it done for you as you have believed.”
Copyright 2015 Kimberly Cook.
Art: Christ Heals the Centurion’s Servant by Sebastiano Ricci