Be Watchful

BY KELLY SWAN | November 30, 2020
Sunday’s Readings – First Sunday of Advent

As I was preparing to write the reflection, I realized that, by chance, I had also written for the first Sunday of Advent for this Rise Up series last year

The contrasts are dramatic. Last year, I entered Advent in a swirl of external chaos and commitment—from the travel and busyness of fall into the realities of December with four children…Christmas concerts, church choir practices, Advent programs, service projects, gatherings with family and friends, the standard early winter colds and fevers, and the general preparation for the holiday season. 

This year, as Advent begins in the 10th month pandemic and of virtual work, a return for my children to virtual school, and almost all of the above activities canceled for the year (including the colds and fevers this fall—masks at work!), I’m finding myself less in last year’s “peace be within you!” space and more in the space of “Be watchful! Be alert!” in yesterday’s Gospel. 

Be watchful, Advent

Don’t get me wrong. I still need peace within. The world is in chaos and the feelings of helplessness are very real in the face of the challenges we are facing as a global community. 

But I certainly am feeling the reality of watching and being alert during this season that this year is unnaturally internally-focused and insular. Watchful for any opportunity to be as I am called to be in the world, in a reality that demands more isolation and remove from tangible community than I could have fathomed. Watchful for chances to alleviate for my neighbor, whoever they may be, the loneliness, hunger, grief, and anxiety that are so much more evident this year as covid-19 cases climb and we retreat more deeply into our own homes yet again. Watchful for digital spaces that provide small ways for us to work together for justice. Watchful for any opportunity to reclaim, again and again, who we are as a people of faith who hear and follow the call of the Gospel—that we may not be “found sleeping” in the moment when we are called. 

2 replies
  1. Dr.Cajetan Coelho
    Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    He comes, comes, ever comes. It’s time to prepare the way for the coming of the King of peace and joy. The star of Bethlehem, the crib, the manger, the shivering cold, all those hardships the Lord faced for all of us. Maranatha.

  2. Dr Eileen Quinn Knight
    Dr Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    As I walked into Vespers yesterday, the woman in front of me asked: “How are the two Daniels?” I looked through my bank of names and quickly replied “They are fine. I will let them know you asked.”
    The two Daniels are two men we had in our RCIA program several years ago. I became their sponsor. They are both named Daniel. I am delighted to still keep in contact with them especially in prayer. I thought of Pope Francis and the prophet Isiah calling us to be alert! Be alert as we do not know the time or hour. After we finished Vespers, I emailed the two men and reminded them that Advent is a great time for extended prayer. I also reminded them, that as their sponsor I will pray that they and all that they do keeps them close to the God who loves them as they recently became part of the Body of Christ.


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