The waiting has begun. The great anticipation has arrived. I sometimes find it difficult to truly immerse myself into the season of Advent. Between work, school, everyday life, and the assurance that Christmas stands at the far side, I often overlook Advent.
Yet I am exactly who Jesus tells, “Be careful that your hearts do not become drowsy.” Do not overlook the waiting! Advent and today’s scriptures challenge us to something more, something deeper.
In the first reading, Paul prays for the Thessalonians, “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all.” Paul offers a prayer, but also challenges us to love beyond easy complacency. Jesus summons us from ease and privilege to commitment and hope.
Refugees seeking asylum at the border, students applying for DACA, families demanding racial justice, workers striking for fair rights—these are the expectancies and anticipations of Advent. Advent is the desperate hope of the one who “shall do what is right and just in the land.”
Advent then is not merely a time of quiet excitement of shimmering lights, peppermint beverages, and a manger missing a figurine. Advent radically calls us to anticipation and to accompany those who wait. For folks like me who live in great privilege, it might be uncomfortable!. It shakes me from my drowsiness and complacency, demanding I wait with others.
This Advent, we might try lingering and accompanying overdoing and fixing. We must learn what it means to wait. This could be listening to the stories of those waiting for immigration papers or walking with those on the picket line. It could involve eating meals with those experiencing homelessness or praying with those in mourning. Whatever it may be, let us share in the waiting with hope for the promise fulfilled.
Bro.Ken Homan, S.J., is a Jesuit brother currently studying and writing at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. In addition to his work as a student, Bro.Ken works in union organizing and environmental justice. In his spare time, he is a woodworker and master of puns.