What are you waiting for this Advent?

In my office, Ashleigh Banks is waiting for the birth of her first child. She is due 29 December. Ashleigh says she is “waiting for a new life in our family - waiting to see what the baby’s personality is, what their hopes and dreams will be in their life and nurturing that.”

It will be a particularly special Advent for her and her family.

What are you waiting for in this season?

The word ‘advent’ means ‘coming’, and focuses on Christ’s threefold coming - past, present and future.

  • We await and prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas.
  • We hope and give thanks for Christ’s presence within us and in the world.
  • We look to the future, waiting for Christ to come again.

Every year we have the opportunity during Advent to reflect and to use that time to get ready for Christmas. But the end-of-year season can be so busy that suddenly Christmas is here and we haven’t set aside time to focus on God.

As the Plenary Council has been encouraging everyone to ask What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time, we can stop and ask God individually, “What are you asking of me this Advent?”

Maybe this year we can deliberately set aside time to sit in silence or to go on a retreat, even just for a day.

It could be to spend more time including God in the ‘busyness’ of the season, reflecting back on what God has done in your life this year. Or it could be to deliberately go out of your way to do something for someone in need this year. Or it could be kind words and prayers for someone having their first Christmas without a loved one.

As Catholics in this season we can be reminded of the strong hope we have in Jesus.

In a homily in October Pope Francis spoke of hope as an encounter with God.

Pope Francis gave an image to illustrate hope: a pregnant woman who expects a child, just like Ashleigh.

“She is joyful!  Every day she caresses her abdomen to caress the child, she is expecting the child, she lives expecting that child. This image can help us to understand what hope is: to live for this encounter. The woman imagines how her child’s eyes are, how his smile will be, if he’ll be blonde or brown . . . she imagines the encounter with her child.

“Hope is concrete; it’s of every day because it’s an encounter. And each time that we encounter Jesus in the Eucharist, in prayer, in the Gospel, in the poor, in communal life; each time we take an extra step towards this definitive encounter.” Pope Francis said.

May each of us look for and experience those amazing encounters with God this Advent. 

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Brooke Robinson Image
Brooke Robinson

Brooke is Content Officer for the Communications Team in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

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