Tantalizing Whispers of Promise

I’ve been guilty of writing about Advent as a time of intense preparation for beloved family and friends to gather. Baking, shopping, decorating, and wrapping—all designed to wel­come travelers—create happy chaos around the table with extra chairs wedged at the corners.

True. But since the pandemic, Advent fatigue seems dif­ferent. It’s the loneliness of those whose kids aren’t coming home, the spouses who couldn’t reconcile. It’s the sad resigna­tion of the incarcerated whose daily routine is unchanging.

It’s the despair of the refugee girl who speaks only an indig­enous Central American language, who can’t understand the English, Spanish, or Farsi in her international school and sometimes simply puts her head down on the desk.

To all these, even to these, the Advent readings are perfectly timed wellsprings of hope and energy. God promises through Isaiah: “They will run and not grow weary, / walk and not grow faint.” Jesus beckons: “Come to me . . . and I will give you rest.” Note: personal promises, not sure answers that ring hollow in the depths of despair.

Promise opens a different perspective: the tender God sees beyond limited human vision. God, source of all goodness, promises to walk close beside us. Jesus stakes his very life on us. Often our judgments of what’s positive or negative are wrong. What first seemed dire calamity can become surpris­ing joy. Hold it all, say Wisdom teachers. This season points to the coming of One who shares the suffering, enters the worst. Then the star brightens the night sky; the Advent candle lights.

Kathy Coffey, “Tantalizing Whispers of Promise” from the December 2022 issue of Give Us This Day, www.giveusthisday.org (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2022). Used with permission.

One response to “Tantalizing Whispers of Promise

  1. Thank you for writing for Give Us this Day. I enjoy your content.

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