146-147; 111, 112, 113
Isaiah 1:1-9 2 Peter 3:1-10 Matthew 25:1-13
In the four weeks of Advent, we are attentive to time more keenly as we anticipate the coming of Christ as a child and await his coming again in judgment. Hours and days and seasons are all marked by shifting light: from the muted sun at dawn to the brilliant flat light of high noon to the shadows of dusk and the enfolding dark. In New England where I grew up, the daylight in Advent ended in the afternoon, and the cold gray leafless sky made the candles of the Advent wreath burn more brightly. With each day, the length of the light waned until the winter solstice, just before Christmas, when the days would wax again. In today’s parable we watch with vague alarm as the light from the lamps of the unprepared bridesmaids flickers out. To cultivate my attention in Advent, I take up a daily practice. I try to make it simple and doable, yet even then I find myself lapsing somewhere in the first week. And so I pick it up again. This year I want to stay aware of time, be awake to it, particularly the rhythm of the light. It may be to light a candle at the same time each day. Or it may be to read one page of a contemplative book at an appointed hour. Or to walk a loop in my neighborhood at dusk. I invite you to try a simple practice. To be aware. To be awake.
Dear God, be present each day in the light and in the dark. Help us to wait for your Child with patience and hope. Amen.
Listen to Cynthia read her Advent meditation and prayer: