Daily Reflection
December 4th, 2004
Mary Haynes Kuhlman
English Department
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Advent -- "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."  Waiting.  And "Blessed are all who wait for the Lord."  Today's readings tell us that we are blessed in this blessed season.  So why do I slide off into feeling rushed and pressed and lonely and frantic?

All the advertisements and mailings and invitations and recipes and decorations can say "Hurry!  Go and do!  Spend and spend more!" and worse, "You haven't done enough," and worst, "Unless you get this and that, unless you go further and do more, you won't be right. You won't be loved."  What terrible messages from the well-meant trappings of a blessed season!

Today's readings counteract the anxieties drummed up by our culture's materialism, while encouraging the real goodness that Advent evokes in us.  The reading from Isaiah promises abundance, with God giving the rain, the harvest, and the healing we need. >From that abundance we give in turn, as Matthew tells how Jesus authorized his disciples to serve other people.  He had compassion on the "harassed and helpless," the "troubled and abandoned" of the crowds (they sound like tired Christmas shoppers!), and he sent out his laborers to proclaim "The Kingdom of heaven is near!"

As we have received God's love "without cost," we are able to give "without cost."  This does not mean that the gift being shipped from Amazon-dot-com won't show up on the credit card bill, but it does remind us that we are loved and loved abundantly, and we are able to love abundantly -- freely, joyfully -- in return.

Advent.  Waiting.  Waiting as ever, but with ever more certain hope.


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