The season of Advent has always been one of my favorites. It is a time to be quiet and to commit more time to listening; a time to revel in the power of simple flames atop purple candles, casting out the darkness; a time to really ponder all the ways God's presence in our midst reveals itself; a time to prepare for the coming of Christ in ways unexpected, beautiful and ordinary.
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! So begins Psalm 84, a favorite of our community's founder, Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli. As the story goes, he prayed this psalm at the dedication of every church he helped build on the American frontier — and he built a lot of them. In his final days, he again found solace in reciting the familiar words.
The end of the liturgical year, the anything-but-quiet waiting weeks of Advent filled with the tug between the contemplative and commercial, the awesome birth of Christ in hearts anew on Christmas night, the first day of the brand new year and the World Day of Peace.