Jer. 33:14-16
1 Thes. 3:12-4:2
Lk. 21:25-28, 34-36

Barren Branches
I love this time of year when I can see the bare branches against the sunset. I love the shapes and the curves of the trees that are usually hidden by the leaves. Everything becomes remarkably visible.

As we begin this season of Advent we are invited to journey our own inner landscape. We are invited to become more awake to that which we need to see. There is a heighten anticipation of the blessings that can come with waiting. This is happening at exactly the same time that the consumer culture is telling us in order to be ready, we must not wait to get things done, but rather we must hurry. And as we hurry about getting this and that, forget about the bare tree branches against the night sky, there is way too much to do to be looking around.

This season of Advent however, continues to be counter cultural and challenges me to slow down and be still. It invites me to re-evaluate what is really important. The church invites us in the readings of the Season to wait, not idly but rather with a sense of anticipation of a coming. As it says in the first reading of December 3rd, we are waiting for the fulfillment of a promise…a time which will speak of safety and security.

The second reading invites us to make room within ourselves for a boundless love towards all. To be filled with this boundless love, most of us need to make some room in our inner landscape. What do we need to let go of? Do we have wants in our lives that have become needs? Do we dare to make enough room within to feel our hunger for this boundless love in our lives? Dare we empty ourselves enough to make room for hope with expectation? Advent waiting calls attention if we dare listen. We are invited to make room like the barren trees for a dormancy that bares its fruit in the seasons to come.

Why? Because eventually, we like Mary and Joseph will be called to take the journey to Bethlehem. Let us use this season of Advent, this time of barren branches and waiting to nourish our inner landscape, so that when the time comes we will be guided by the Christ Light into the fullness of Light of the Christmas Season.