by Sr. Joy Connealy, ND
The Advent readings are filled with signs and images that point to God’s great love for us. As believers we seek for some reassurance of that love and how we are being called to respond. Jesus’ whole life was filled with signs that show us that our world’s way of doing things isn’t always the path we are called to take. In fact, Jesus often turned life upside down and inside out! A star that led foreigners to a stable to worship a king; shepherds from the hillside were the first called to give honor to God’s Son; the Mother of God giving birth before she was married to Joseph; sinners were welcomed and became honored guests; healing and forgiveness were given without cost and the cross becomes the instrument of our salvation.
No doubt Joseph was grateful for the dream that assured him of God’s plan for his life with Mary and all that would entail. That sign allowed him to welcome Mary and her child into his home where they could build a life together and nurture this wonderful gift from God.
We, too, have signs that point the way to God’s loving plan for us. At times we need to look past the current reality of our world - past the violence, prejudice and seeking for revenge, to the truth that God is present in all of creation and God’s desire is loving unity. He sent his Son to show us the way and God lives within us empowering us to create a world of justice and peace for all. There are many obvious signs at Christmas time – family get-togethers, beautiful worship times, lights and decorations that delight and a giving spirit that brings out the best in us. But even more powerful are the signs that come in the quiet moments: taking time to connect with the God within; reflecting on God’s plan to send a little child to save us; a shared word or glance that confirms how loved you are or the realization that all is gift and the only sign you will ever need is God becoming human.