Though retailers do a good job convincing people that the Christmas season is already here, the church calendar reminds us that the four-week season preceding Christmas, called Advent, begins this Sunday. If we observe Advent, we fight off the urge to rush Christmas. When we’re serious about this, we resist the commercialism, crassism, materialism, and overall hectic pace that characterizes the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Advent helps us to go deeper, deeper into our interior lives, into the psalms and biblical prophets, into the needs of the world around us. About a dozen Advents ago, a member of a congregation I served handed me a paperback book and said, “I think you’ll like this.” I did. The book is called Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim, by Catholic priest Edward Hays. I recommend it.
On his website (www.edwardhays.com) Hays describes himself as “walking the razor’s edge between madness and magic.” These days he resides in a retirement community where he stays busy writing and satisfying his curiosity about all things. He writes: “After graduating from Eldergarden, rumors are that [I] will depart following another star to explore intriguing extraterrestrial destinations.” No doubt, he will.
From the fertile mind of Edward Hays, AN ADVENT PSALM.
Awaken, my heart, God’s reign is near; the Peaceable Kingdom is in my hands. If the wolf can be the guest of the lamb, and the bear and cow be friends, then no injury or hate can be a guest within the kingdom of my heart. Eden’s peace and harmony will only return when first, in my heart, there hides no harm or ruin, for the Peaceable Kingdom is in my hands.
Isaiah’s dream became Jesus’ vision: “Come, follow me,” Emmanuel’s echo rings. “Reform your life, recover Eden’s peace,” for only then will salvation appear. For Advent’s dream is the healing of earth, when the eagle and bear become friends, the child and the serpent playmates.
Arise, awaken, my heart, the Peaceable Kingdom is in your hands.
I wish you Advent blessings on your way toward Christmas. I intend to light a candle every day to collect my thoughts, on some days to let go of them.