First Sunday of Advent, December 3rd

By Sr. Mary Ann Zimmer, ND

Ever since I can remember, I have treasured having an Advent wreath to mark off the weeks of the season. An evergreen wreath with three purple candles and a pink one in the center of my table gives me a focus for the season. I love the ritual of a momentary pause to light a candle, a deep breath each evening of the hectic season. I love the sense of progression through the dark days towards the coming of light.

But–many years it is a struggle for me to put it all together. Sometimes I can’t find a single thing to stand those darn candles in. Or I just have to drag out whatever odd assortment of candles I have, or my evergreen wreath gives up its needles after just a week. And now I live in an apartment where my lease actually forbids candles.

Not to worry, though, this is the season of the Incarnation, the freely chosen union of God with humanity. It is the season of God’s making do with what is. So, we can celebrate with four shot glasses or juice glasses in a wreath of green scarf or tissue paper, or …. Your turn! Each week an additional “candle” can be lit with bits of colored paper, crayoned flames, flame-colored Cheetos, or . . ?

Having to make do during Advent reminds me that with the coming of Jesus making do is actually what we celebrate. God did not and does not wait for humankind to have it together before entering totally into our reality. The coming of God in the flesh is the ultimate act of taking things as they are and inhabiting them with grace.

Where does this Advent call me to see grace, God’s irrevocable offer of love, inhabiting reality? To remember that I carry grace into reality. To make real our common responsibility to be grace for each other?