December 5, 2014
Daniel Patrick O'Reilly
Creighton's Department of Clinical Education
click here for photo and information about the writer


Friday of the First Week of Advent
Lectionary: 179

Isaiah 29:17-24
Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14
Matthew 9:27-31

Praying Advent

Today's Advent Prayer

Sometimes the readings can be confusing.  However, today’s readings hit me right between the eyes.  In Isaiah, the Lord encourages believers through Isaiah.  “And out of the gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see.”  The psalmist proclaims, “He will enlighten the eyes of his servants.”  And in Matthew, two blind men cry out to Jesus, “Son of David, have pity on us!”  They follow Christ into the house and are healed.

Recently I noticed that something was wrong with the vision in my right eye.  I was having difficulty seeing things above my head.  It felt like my eye lid was drooping.  I was absolutely convinced that something was happening to my face.  I kept looking at people I passed by thinking they were staring at my face.  I was waiting for someone to exclaim, Hey, Dan, your face looks really strange today.  To which I would have indignantly replied, what do you mean today?  It was an odd sensation, but when I looked in the mirror, I could see that my face was normal (relatively speaking).  I’ve concluded that the eye can convince the brain that something is real when it is not.  Walk by faith, not by sight?

It was happening so slowly that I could barely perceive a change, but a curtain was coming down on my right eye.  Finally, I went to the eye doctor who said, you have a detached retina and need surgery.  Right now.  My grandfather lost the sight in both eyes and my mom lost the sight in one eye due to detached retinas.  Now, I was paying attention.

Since that time, I’ve thought how sin can be like my ailing eye.  It can creep into our lives ever so slowly and seem almost imperceptible.  We know something is wrong, but we simply adjust our lives to it.  We don’t feel we really need to address it.  Until something or someone makes us accountable.  Then we have to see it and we have to make a decision about the sin in our life.

I had surgery and a gas bubble was placed in my eye.  I spent numerous days staring at the ground in order to keep the bubble in place.  And the bubble is still there as I write this.  It’s something like looking through a moving goldfish bowl.  However, each day the bubble shrinks and it gets a little better.

It’s early in the advent season.  Winter is upon us in North America.  The days are getting shorter, colder and darker.  A seemingly nasty time of year.  However, because winter is upon us, I can walk out on the deck in the morning and look up and see the constellation Orion.  An incredible sight.  And I am so thankful.  It’s all a matter of perspective.  It’s cold and dark, but it’s still beautiful.

This experience has produced so many questions.  If I had lost the sight in my eye, would I still be thankful?  I like to think yes, but I honestly don’t know.  I look at my mom.  She lost the sight in her eye and she has a beautiful, thankful heart.  Could I believe it is part of God’s plan?  Would I still be joyful and hopeful?  Would I be bitter?  I believe bitterness is a choice.  And that bitterness robs us of joy and hope.  Would I be fearful about the future?  Or would it bring me to trust God more?

During Advent God gives us an opportunity to recognize who He is.  To deepen our relationship with Him.  Advent is a season of expectation.  My prayer today is for those of us who may face adversity sometime this season.  That we would realize the season is about Christ.  And He is our source of joy and reason for hope.

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