The Hidden Treasures of Advent
Riches CAN BE Discovered through “alert prayer”
Msgr. Douglas Fater
Advent peeks out each year like a tarnished, forgotten ornament—lost in the anxious activities between Thanksgiving and Christmas. About the only way we might think of Advent in passing is if we see “First, Second, Third, Fourth Sunday of Advent” headlining the parish bulletin. Or we might notice that the priest is wearing purple vestments. But if we don’t make a conscious effort to actively engage, the season can become ho-hum. If we fail to become involved, we risk losing the spirituality of Advent, a season filled with hidden treasures that are as old as our faith and as fresh and young as our longings.
Coincidentally, Advent takes place during deer hunting season—a time when hunters wait for and seize innocence and beauty for nourishment and trophy. In 1940, Carson McCullers wrote The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. The novel describes interior darkness and our hunt for life-giving light. Advent lures us to search for a new inner awakening to innocence and beauty, to engage in a hunt that leads us not to kill but to a new birth—one that reflects enduring light amid inner darkness. That birth grows to accompany us for a year through our winter of cold discontent, our springtime of possibility and energy, our summer of activity and exhaustion into the fading awe of autumn. Then Advent advances once again…
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