The horror of these times would be unendurable unless we kept being cheered and set
upright again by the promises that are spoken.
The angels of annunciation speaking their message of blessing into the midst of anguish,
scattering their seed of blessing that will one day spring up amid the night,
call us to hope.
Picture Linus and his blanket.
Or better yet…
Picture your computer, your phone, your car or even your home…
They are all the sorts of things in your life that are most likely well protected
with some sort of security system in place.
Even your very self…
you protect, or so you try, yourself from harm, crime or even accident.
Yet we are currently living in a time when security is at a constant risk.
Many individuals are feeling that even their very
security of self has been threatened…
as in it has or will be somehow taken, hacked or even stolen.
Much like identify theft, but not.
It’s not because our country has been invaded…
despite the cries of
“the Russians are coming,
the Russians are coming…”
It’s not because we have each been kidnapped or abducted by aliens.
It’s not because we have all lost or out grown our blankets or our teddy bears…
However it could be because those very things into which we have poured our feelings…
those places, things or persons into which we have assigned our sense of security…
has turned out not to be what we thought…
With many still foolishly reeling from post election trauma,
to those who are merely finding themselves lost in the midst of
“this time of year” overload,
the sense of safe, secure, content is anything but…
It is at such times when we find ourselves reaching for those things that provide us with
a sense of comfort, a sense of well being, that long sought sense of contentment…
most often with those hoped for things, places and people fading and fleeting
or simply falling flat.
The Jesuit priest Alfred Delp reminds us form his Nazi prison cell that…
For all its earnestness, Advent is a time of inner security,
because it has received a message.
Oh, if it ever happens that we forget the message and the promises;
if all we know is the four walls and the prison windows of our grey days;
if we can no longer hear the gentle step of the announcing angels;
if our soul no longer is at once shaken and exalted by
their whispered word—
then it will be all over with us.
We are living wasted time and are dead before they do us any harm.
So might this heightened sense of loss and fretfulness be rooted in something
greater and deeper than mere misplaced security?
Have we forgotten the message, as well as the promise, of long ago
as we languish in the emptiness of the grey days of our lives?
Have we forgotten that single announcement, proclamation, revelation?
That there is One, and only one, who was to come,
nay, has come,
to offer us everlasting security…
Security that will neither waiver nor fail…
as He offers the dearest thing He has…in order that we may finally
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”