First Sunday of Advent


JER 33: 14-16

1 THES 3: 12—4:2

LK 21: 25-28, 34-36



“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy” 

The season of Advent comes at a time when the nights are longer, we are tired and worn down from the stresses of the year. And yet, Advent comes as an invitation to settle our minds, awaken our hearts and wait in joyful hope for God’s love to take physical form in the radical birth of Jesus.

As we begin this Advent season, the theme of the first week is HOPE.  But there is so much suffering, violence and unrest in the world, it might seem unnatural, or even foolish, to focus on hope. With the fires in California, the caravan of poor immigrants that have arrived just 20 minutes south of us, violence around the world and in the US and the hate rhetoric that continues to increase, having hope seems like a daunting task. I have found myself feeling pretty hopeless during these challenging times. It is tempting to fall into the trap of closing off my heart, turning to apathy, and just focusing on the daily tasks in front of me.

But today’s Gospel from Luke was a challenge to me to “not let my heart become drowsy with the anxieties of daily life.” The passage reminded me of our sacred invitation to be alert, awakening our hearts to be focused on HOPE and the coming of Jesus. And most importantly, to remember that even in the darkest of nights that Christ’s light and love will triumph!

During this Advent season, as we wait to celebrate God’s entrance into our world, let us remember that God is already so present around us and we must remain committed to the hope that exists. I experience this presence and hope through seeing my neighbors and friends reach out to those who are suffering, seeing communities come together for a common cause of helping others and for those on the front lines who are advocating for justice and peace within our broken world. It is within Christ that we can take refuge and experience true hope even in the midst of suffering and darkness. It is the God of Hope who mourns with us, delights in us, and waits for us. Let us awaken our hearts as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of Jesus Christ!

Maria (Torretto) Gaughan, ’04, ’09 (MA)
Assistant Director
University Ministry 

Advent Prayer

Holy One,
awaken my heart,
quiet my mind,
open the door of my being
to perceive your presence.

Settle what stirs endlessly within me.
Quiet the voice of haste and hurry.
Awaken my inner senses to recognize
your love hiding beneath the frenzy. 

Enfold me in your attentiveness.
Wrap a mantle of mindfulness
around every part of my days.
I want to welcome you with joy
and focus on your dwelling place.

-Joyce Rupp