Advent is drawing to a close; Christmas is soon upon us. Time has slowed down and sped up all at once it seems. Only last year was I living at home once again, uncertain, yet hopeful to be accepted as a Companion. What a joy and relief it is to be here over a year later in my own room in the convent; amongst friends. In this last week before the white candle is lit, hours and days carry new meaning. Silence and stillness shed the layers of noise and restlessness so etched into every aspect of my life. During this season I have begun to ask myself: who am I in the middle of all of these preparations? Where do I fit in my own adventure and the wider story around me? Where is Jesus?
I believe Jesus came into the world to be the light in the darkness. I definitely see this in my own life and experience. Joyful expectation is hard to manage among the griefs and sorrows of being human; being vulnerable. This is a time of waiting, of looking forward and behind. This season is peppered with the turmoils of the past; divorce, death, loneliness, poverty, anger, regret, grief. Even in a place called ‘the heart of the church’, I have not gone unaffected. I have slowly been more agitated and withdrawn; even without noticing it myself.
Until I took the time to look up.
To look up past the vulnerability and cares in my life. Look away from the sorrows of yesterday. Looking to the star in the sky, leading the way; lighting up the night. Now, I guess this means Jesus must have been born at night, but I do not think there is a better message of hope than this. Just when the world seems to tilt a little too far, just when it seems to get just a bit darker, a flickering light captures those dark tendrils. The shadows’ lengthening pauses and instead, evening begins to feel warm, night begins to open into an embrace instead of a cold shoulder, and I am once again, disturbed by grace. Unashamedly, powerless and helpless, to grace. Maybe, this vulnerability is why it means so much to look forward to the coming of Emmanuel. For God with us as an infant could not remind us more to look within, and to love with abandon.
For this love, this is why I came to Toronto. What does it mean for my story to intersect even more closely with the body of Christ? This oblation is written on my heart, and on those around me. These preparations remind me that I am just as me as I was when I arrived, and am just as willing as I was a year ago. That this adventure is ongoing, and this Advent is being spent waiting, and being wrecked by grace over and over again; joyfully.
Kelsea Willis, SSJD Companion