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Advent calls us to be joyful and attentive to God and each other

Advent is my favorite liturgical season. In the northern hemisphere, the light is different; a sort of low-light in between darkness and dawn. I can hear the longing of the prophets for the Messiah down through the centuries. O come, O come, Emmanuel!

Isaiah, in particular, calls us to be watchful, to be alert, to go up to the high mountain where we can be one with God, waiting in anticipation.

But Advent is also a procession to the stable. It is about how we welcome Christ into our hearts and how we become Christ to others each day as we do our usual things. We focus our attention on the three comings of Christ: the past — we celebrate his birth in Bethlehem; the present — in the community that is gathered for the Eucharist; and in the future — his second coming.

Advent calls us to be joyful and attentive to God and each other. We are called to take time to be kind, to lend support and affirmation, to take time for others, be present, and especially to help those in need.

Advent is about renewal. It begins the new year, a time of joy and hope!

Reflection: What will you do to "go up to the high mountain" and keep Advent as a special time of being one with God?

Donna L. Ciangio is a Sister of St. Dominic of Caldwell, New Jersey. With an academic background in fine arts, religious studies, education and ministry, she has been the director (U.S. and international) of Renew International and the director of pastoral services for the National Pastoral Life Center. She has worked extensively in church leadership consultation. Most recently, she has been a university adjunct professor and the chancellor of the Archdiocese of Newark. She speaks, writes and publishes extensively.

This reflection originally appeared in Global Sisters Report: