And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.
In recent weeks I’ve been part of conversations that, while different in topic, circled around a common theme. In each, people have expressed gratitude for the blessings of their immediate lives while voicing real concern, discouragement, and even fear when considering what is happening in our country and the world.
The common theme, as I hear it, is a haunting question, not unique to us, but one with increasing urgency in our time: “How are we to live?” Those of us who follow Jesus might ask the same question another way, “Where is Jesus making his presence known and asking us to join him there?”
This is our Advent–a season of watching and paying attention. Scripture teaches us that faithfulness is needed most in unsettled times, when we do not know what each day will bring.
The first week of Advent happens to correspond with my second week on an intentional practice of gratitude. I’m learning that giving thanks for the small, often unnoticed blessings of each day helps keep me grounded in all that is good. And that in the midst of all for which I am decidedly not grateful, there is always someone or something for which to offer thanks. That awareness strengthens my desire not to simply bemoan what is wrong, but to be part of a creative, life-giving response.
So I am on the watch, now, for Advent inspiration. I’m not avoiding the harder realities, but as I face into them, I’ve resolved to keep awake and pay attention to those whose faithful examples I want to emulate.
Next week I’ll write of two such people. I invite you to be on the watch for your Advent inspirations, and share them with us.