A Creative AdventDec 03, 2021
The second week of Advent is upon us which means of course, there are only three more weeks before Christmas!
As a child, whenever Advent came around, I always wished I could fast forward through it as quickly as possible so that I could get to Christmas sooner! However, now that I am an adult, I really appreciate the beauty and symbolism of the Advent season - a wonderful time of preparation and joyful anticipation for the birth of Our Saviour.
Advent is an easy and enjoyable period of waiting because
1) We know exactly the duration and we are certain that it will come to an end and
2) We know what awaits us at the end of this time of quiescence and we are certain it will not disappoint us
What about those seasons of life where waiting is not as straightforward?
- Where the duration of waiting seems never ending or like there is no end in sight?
- Where there is a lot of uncertainty as to what exactly the period of waiting is for or what the outcome will be?
In my work with single women, I always encounter a lot of feelings of frustration and anxiety in that particular ‘season of waiting’. To many a season of singleness, while knowing that your vocation is marriage, could feel like a never-ending Advent.
The same can be said for many other types of callings. Maybe you’ve just started a new ministry, a new business, a new program in your parish. Maybe you’re developing a new gift or skill and you are beginning to share it in some way with others.
Many times, when God puts dreams in our hearts, and we begin to carry out those dreams we may suddenly find ourselves in a period where nothing seems to be happening or our progress is very slow.
- That business isn't growing as fast as you thought it would.
- The ministry you started isn't reaching as many as you had dreamed.
- That book or album seems to be on standstill.
You may ask, 'God what are you doing?'
You may even begin to doubt that God called you to this path in the first place or that it is indeed His will.
The devil might begin to tempt you to despair and discouragement in very subtle ways.
This was all your idea.
This was never God's will.
You have nothing to offer.
In this vulnerable state he may even go so far as to tempt you to resentment and envy of your sisters in Christ who seem to be shining. That friend whose book is selling, the Catholic influencer who has thousands of Instagram followers, the artist who gets hundreds of likes for showcasing their gifts and talents - instead of praising God for the glory they bring to His Kingdom, they become one more reminder of the failure of your dreams.
If you are experiencing this right now, I would like to invite you to think about this time as a Creative Advent - a season of preparation and waiting on the Lord.
There are so many beautiful examples in the Bible of the power of waiting or a period when seemingly nothing is happening or God is doing nothing about the dreams He shared with you.
- Joseph waited 13 years before he saw the fulfilment of the dream he had when he was 17.
- Abraham waited 25 years before God gave him the gift of a child.
- The Israelites waited 40 years before they saw the Promised Land.
- Our Lord Jesus waited 30 years before beginning His ministry.
In these weeks leading up to Christmas, the baby Jesus is growing and preparing for His birth in the sacred womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Do not doubt.
There are powerful and profound happenings in a period of waiting, though it may seem hidden and unknown, even to you. The time where nothing seems to be happening with your creative endeavour or you're waiting for something to happen, is a time of forming your roots.
There’s a very special tree found in the South of Africa called The Shepherd’s Tree. It is the tree with the longest roots, over 70 metres in length. It is also known as the Tree of Life because of its diverse utility to the local people and animals. Due to its extensive root system it can withstand the harshest conditions and environments and still flourish.
Before you can bring glory to God in your gifts and talents you need to be rooted in faith, hope, and love. The longer the waiting period, the deeper your roots can grow. Then when your call is shaken by tribulations and trials, it can still flourish like the Shepherd’s tree because of your extensive root system.
If you're in a Creative Advent right now, I'd like to suggest journeying through it with Our Blessed Mother. In this time of waiting and preparation ask her to be hidden, like the baby Jesus was, in the sacred space that is her womb. There, let God the Father knit together all your hopes, dreams, desires, gifts, talents, ideas, and plans. So that at His appointed hour, Our Blessed Mother will give birth to His plan and will for your creative call.
By Angéle Alonzo, Spoken Women Team and creator of Happy Single Catholic
Photo by Aleksandra Sapozhnikova on Unsplash
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