Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
December 11th, 2010

Janine ter Kuile

Financial Aid Office
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Saturday of the second week in Advent
[186] Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11
Psalm 80:2ac+3b, 15-16, 18-19
Matthew 17:9a, 10-13

Before Christ comes at Christmas, Elijah comes at Advent. How will we recognize Elijah?  Today’s reading gives us clues.  We’re called to repent and restore everything, including parent/child relationships and the tribes of Jacob (the church).  A critical, yet challenging undertaking as we attempt to bridge our present reality to that of baby Jesus.

As the weather turns cold I intuitively turn inward and listen more closely to what my mind and body desires… warmth, rest and quiet.  It also signals a time when I celebrate my unique tribe, my family and friends.  Somehow the pain of struggles I face throughout the year disappear for the time being, and the positive experiences continue to marinate.  I savor the smells of seasonal spices, the silence of the cold dark nights, and being inside where it is warm and mellow.  The early darkness of the night becomes my friend.  But there is more.

This slowing of the season prompts me to think about the words of Anees Sheikh, Ph.D., who teaches the psychology of happiness. He visited Creighton recently to talk about the blending of the eastern and western worlds of mother earth.  Kindness, he pointed out, must become us …let’s consider life before death as opposed to life after death.  After all, isn’t that God’s worry? Will it be about the quantity of years I have left, or about quality?  This Advent I am going to recall all the people who touched my life in a positive way and reflect on why I am put on this earth. 

Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness.  If you are walking through a dark advent of a meaningless and empty life, you are living a life full of grace, a path to holiness, a call to life before death.  We need a holy Advent to have a blessed Christmas.

Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God's living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives—and we publish it. —2 Corinthians 3:3

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