Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Advent and Hope

Advent is different this year, in a wonderful way that I'm struggling to put into words.  I've been thinking about it for the last few days, as we amble through this season of waiting and expectation.  And I find that I can't describe the change without contrasting this year with last year.  Part of the change might be attributed to our new northern home.  The days seem so much darker now, in contrast to our Southern Florida December last year.  It's dark when we get up in the morning and dark by the time I start making dinner in the late afternoon.  The darkness makes the idea of waiting expectantly for the light which is about to be born into the world all the more powerful.

There's an intoxicating sort of expectation to the days lately, with Sadie babbling on about Advent constantly.  The family rosary at night has an added element of excitement with the Advent wreath burning, and I think that having candles flickering and praying downstairs by the family altar is definitely a new tradition that is going to survive beyond this season.

Last year I made the Jesse Tree and we put up the ornaments, but I didn't manage the daily readings.  Hanging the ornaments was something we rushed through in those time blurred days, as the first months after saying farewell to our little saint were a jumble of effort and sorrow and the holidays made those sorrows all the more pointed.

My prayers in those first days in some ways were easier, pouring out silently, but weren't the sort that brought our family together to anticipate the arrival of hope in the world.  We pushed on and stumbled through, doing what we were able, but feeling as if we had barely survived the previous months and unsure of the damage that had been done and whether we would ever be blessed with another little life.

Hope was there, but it seemed to be a far off idea, cloaked in sorrow that was nearly too thick to see through.

These past months, as we readied our home to welcome Patrick and then were carried quickly on into the start of the holidays, those hard days from last year, and our little saint, have, as always, been in my heart and thoughts.  And while the loss of a child is never easy, even when separated by an ever widening expanse of time, the ache is tempered now by hope.

God has been at work, healing us.  I feel as though I can see the promise that this season holds a bit more clearly this year... and the longing and expectation is somehow easier to understand, as I find myself longing all the more for the promise that the birth of our Savior offers.

The sorrows of last year will never disappear, but it is through the lens of those sorrows that the future glows all the more brightly.  It is through our suffering that God often shapes us and readies us to receive his love.

This year, I can finally see the hope that rings through this seasons as we wait in the darkness for the light which will be born into the world on Christmas Day.


  1. Thanks for sharing this. It's lovely to hear your story of prayers answered and hope firmly brought in the form of Patrick. I can only hope that my sadness is resolved the same way yours has been. Many blessings to you all x

  2. I liked your reflection, Cam. I've always felt Christmas as a celebration, a family event, a Church-family event, together, but I always had the feeling that Advent was something I worked on alone. It was a more personal time, to reflect, give thanks --- for everything.

    You put my thoughts about the season into your own personal words very well.

  3. Excellent reflection on Advent; very well articulated and heartfelt.



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