In Thanks: An Advent Reflection and Prayer

I felt compelled to write the following reflection and prayer after being moved to a moment of pause when overcome by a wave of gratitude for the season of Advent.  Advent means “arrival” or “coming” and is a Christian holiday season celebrated during the four weeks leading up to Christmas in which we reflect on Jesus’s birth into the world.  I offer it to all, believing the power of light and the four virtues remembered through the candles on the Advent wreath: hope, love, joy, and peace, are truths that resonate within all human experience.  And so, I offer this and hope it to be a blessing to you who read it. 

In Thanks: An Advent Reflection and Prayer

Thank You, Beloved, for this time of Advent, to celebrate the beginning of life with You as we know it today.  Thank You for a time to prepare for honoring and rejoicing in that most holy day of Your arrival among us.  A time to ponder all the wondrous and mysterious ways in which You come to us.  Thank You for a whole month to steep ourselves once more in the story of Your abundant, beautiful, humble love that You embodied when You became like one of us in Jesus.

Thank you for the Advent wreath which, for 500 years, with its four candles set upon an evergreen ring has gifted us with reminders of four core elements of who You are, and who we are as Your creations, hope, love, joy, and peace.  Through the dazzling flicker of simple candles, a way was provided for us to meditate upon these four virtues, which, like the glimmering candle, have the power to transform any and all darkness.  Through the lighting of these candles we are reminded of Your light and the light within each of us.  They reveal to us the truth that while darkness may grow around us we need not be afraid for light only becomes brighter in such darkness.  We thus can recognize the existence of darkness as an opportunity for You and for each of us to shine even brighter. 

Thank You also for blessing us with creativity, with which we have discovered activities to warm us up during this season which can be cold for so many exteriorly and interiorly.  Thank you for candles, for special meals, for special traditions, and special decorations to mark the uniqueness and holiness of this season.  As we bask in the delights of these gifts may we recognize You at the heart of each.  Your hope in the light of each candle and luminescent decoration.  Your love in love from family, friends, and neighbors. Your joy in every cookie-making endeavor, glass of delicious festive drink, and sweet memory made and remembered.  And, Your peace in the sacred silence which comes both by choice and unexpected lull.  Your peace in the moments of pause when we stop to observe all our hard work in preparation for this season.  Your peace in the times we feel utterly unsettled and remember You redeem and make all things new, You offer peace which surpasses all understanding, and You are present among us now, even as we anticipate Your first coming in Jesus the Christ, and that makes all the difference.