Translate »

advent means waiting

Current JV Claire Smith (Gresham, OR ’12-13) shared a reflection with the Portland JVC Northwest community Tuesday evening at our annual Advent Gathering. The following paragraphs are an excerpt, for the rest of the reflection, click here to download: Advent means waiting-Claire Smith Reflection
JV Claire Smith (Gresham, OR ’12-13) shares her reflection at the Advent Gathering

As a child, I must confess, Advent frustrated me. I remember hearing the song “Oh come, oh come Emmanuel” far too many times – just get here, already! I wanted to get to the good songs like “Joy to the World” and “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.”   I loved lighting the blue candles on our wreath, but I was impatient to light the tall, red one in the middle. Also, my parents are sticklers with our manger scene, not putting the baby Jesus in until Christmas Eve and keeping the three Wise Men out until Epiphany . . .  and it was hard for me to play pretend with the figurines while the main character was missing. My childhood impatience made the waiting of Advent difficult; the looking forward to Christmas was great, but it was hard to be content.

Since then, my attention span has grown; my ability to appreciate anticipation has increased. I understand why waiting is important; how the build-up of the wait can be as sweet as the arrival – as when a loved-one visits; how waiting can be a ritual that brings preparation – like taking a moment of reflection before beginning a spirituality night; how it is an unavoidable part of life – waiting in line, waiting to speak your turn, waiting until the tomatoes are ripe…

But I wonder if I am actually any better at Advent now?

Waiting, to me, can still be frustrating. I just want this community to be strong, already! I want to hurry up and end oppression. I’m tired of waiting for sustainability to be the norm instead of a notable exception. Waiting makes me recognize the limitations of my control. And it is often more difficult than taking action…

As I am coming to understand Advent this year, it is about slowing down enough to wait and see the presence of God with us. It is not a stagnant, passive waiting; not an excuse for apathy or inaction. It is an active waiting. An expectation. In Spanish, the word for “to wait” means simultaneously “wait,” “hope,” and “expect” – esperar. Three meanings layered into one whispering verb. It is an active stillness. It is perhaps paying attention as the internal pot boils over. To see what happens and to make an empty space – an inner capacity for peace – that can be filled with less turbulent waters of God’s presence.

1 thought on “advent means waiting”

  1. thank you for sharing… i love the idea of slowing down enough to see feel God with us…

    I recently experienced the power of “pausing” and the beauty of creating “space” to let God’s presence into my heart…

    God Bless you during this advent season… and may peace fill your heart.

    christine hamill weeden
    FJV 96-97
    Tekawitha House, Yakima, WA


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Translate »

Upcoming Virtual Events

"JVC Northwest 101: Service and Community"

Thursday, April 7 | 7:00pm ET / 4:00pm PT
Learn about all that makes a year of service with JVC Northwest unique. We’ll talk about the opportunities available, what intentional community looks like, and dive into our values of social and ecological justice, simple living, and spirituality/reflection. There will also be plenty of time for Q+A. Register here. 

"How to Make Your Application Stand Out"

Wednesday, April 20 | 7:00pm ET / 4:00pm PT
Learn how you can position yourself to be a strong candidate for service with JVC Northwest. With one week left before the April 26 priority deadline, this will also be the perfect time to get a handle on each step of the application, interview, matching, and placement process. Register here. 

Where Are the JVC Northwest Recruiters Going Next?

Check out our upcoming recruitment events below. Don’t see your school or town on the list? Reach out to us at recruiter@jvcnorthwest.org to let us know you’d like us to pay your town a visit! 

Notre Dame | Info Session: Discerning Post Graduate Service | 6:30 PM | COffee House in Geddes Hall

Marquette | Info session (1-2) office hours (2-4) | Career Services Center – Seminar Room