Advent is both waiting and fulfillment
Benedictine priest Patrick Regan called Advent “the dawn in time of the fullness of time, the entrance into history of the goal of history, the appearance in one man of the ultimate future of all.”
This appearance is no superficial cameo: in his incarnation, Christ rejected nothing of our humanity except sin. Our pain, our sorrow, our big and small joys, our particular bonds of love for each other that must be loosed at the end of life – even death itself – all these were accepted and manifested by him.
Advent is both waiting and fulfillment. It is itself a salvific time, because contained within Advent is Easter. That is, that which we hope for is already present. This is nothing less than a breathtaking reality of overwhelming hope. Words that tumble into mind and crowd upon each other – nativity, epiphany, parousia – these are mysteries best grasped by the heart. Advent is the doorway to all these, as it is the doorway to the unfolding mystery that is the entire liturgical year. Fragrant wreaths of evergreen, shining with candlelight; St. Nicholas’ gifts of gleaming gold; the pregnant Lady of Guadalupe, astonishingly surrounded by tender roses – these symbols of hope work through our senses, not our logic, to orient us from the inside out as we recommit to the journey that began with our baptism.
This season, perhaps we should embrace an interior approach; one that, in trust and vulnerability, allows faith, hope, and love to sprout and root in darkness and silence, as a seed does, as a baby does, as the infant Jesus did, when he and all humanity awaited His birth.