The shocked awakening is definitely part of experiencing Advent. But at the same time there is much more that belongs to it. Advent is blessed with God’s promises, which constitute the hidden happiness of this time. These promises kindle the inner light in our hearts. Being shattered, being awakened - only with these is life made capable of Advent. In the bitterness of awakening, in the helplessness of “coming to,” in the wretchedness of realizing our limitations, the golden threads that pass between heaven and earth reach us. These golden threads give the world a taste of the abundance it can have.
~ from “The Shaking Reality of Advent” by Father Alfred Delp, a Jesuit priest who wrote this piece in a Nazi prison shortly before being hanged in 1945 for his opposition to Hitler
Waiting, as we see it in the people of the first pages of the Gospel, is waiting with a sense of promise. “Zechariah,…your wife Elizabeth is to bear a son.” “Mary,…Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son” (Luke 1:13, 31). People who wait have received a promise that allows them to wait. They have received something that is at work in them, like a seed that has started to grow.
This is very important. We can only really wait if what we are waiting for what has already begun for us. So waiting is never a movement from nothing to something. It is always a movement from something to something more.
~ Henri Nouwen, excerpt from “Waiting for God”