In St. Anthony Messenger’s Press booklet, Preparing for Christmas with Richard Rohr–Daily Meditations for Advent, Father Rohr uses five adjectives to describe the attitude with which we want to approach Advent: awake, aware, alert, attentive, alive. These adjectives fit very well into a writer’s approach to his or her writing as well. But my favorite adjective of the five is awake, because it encompasses the other four.
Awake: The advent of winter–for those of us in the northern hemisphere–is a powerful reminder of the changing seasons of our lives. Another year is passing! Of all the seasons in the northeast, winter is hardest to ignore. The cold invigorates. Stepping outdoors from the cozy warmth of our home immediately perks up our senses, no matter how much our shivers protest.
Advent is the Church’s invigorating call to awaken to the meaning of life, and to the invitation to eternal life with the Christ-who-comes. Every time we “wake up” to the reality of the shortness of our lives, we want to take advantage of the gift of each moment. When we reflect that Jesus is inviting us to share in the fullness of life with Him, our time here becomes not only precious, but hope-filled. We have an eternity of joy to look forward to, if we take the opportunity to get ready now.
Advent is meant to wake us up spiritually, to enliven our spiritual perception.
The awakened state of Advent helps me as a writer. Part of being a writer is striving to be always “more” awake, because sleepiness kills creativity. When I am looking for an idea, whether I’m writing an article or a chapter, what I’m really doing is hoping to be awakened. I’m looking to discover something new, to make new connections, to see a new insight. The more spiritually awake I am, the more likely I am to make a new connection or see something in a new way. Even if I am not writing specifically about faith and I’m not describing the Something More for Whom we all long, that longing for the Eternal and sense of the incompleteness of our lives is infused in my writing.
Advent reminds us that our lives here on earth are a gift for the moment and a preparation for eternal joy with God. This perspective of faith makes every moment, every detail of our lives, precious. As a writer, if I can cherish the luminosity behind the day-to-day of my life, my writing will inevitably help others to awaken to the radiance hidden in their everyday lives.