I received an email yesterday from a co-worker announcing that another co-worker had given birth to a healthy beautiful baby boy. The subject line of the email was “Show me a day when the world wasn’t new.” This really caught my attention. Apparently the quote is attributed to Sr. Barbara Hance (1928-1993) and I think it’s a wonderful Advent thought.
In fact, this quote and the email about the newborn baby made me think of my pastor’s homily this Sunday. He told us of a woman who was diagnosed with cancer and how the family came together after learning the news. After several very heavy, emotional hours, the woman’s daughter presented her with a gift bag. In it was a teddy bear wearing a t-shirt that read “To the World’s Greatest Grandma.” The announcement of her daughter’s pregnancy transformed the tenor of the evening, bringing something to rejoice about into the midst of this otherwise painful moment. The woman commented to friends that the news of her daughter’s pregnancy “gave me something to live for.”
Advent assures us that we have something to live for. Sometimes it can be hard just to get out of bed in the morning. We find ourselves wondering what our purpose is, whether our lives make a difference, and whether or not it is all worth it. In the midst of trials, challenges, and even tragedies, we are reminded of the birth of a baby who brought and continues to bring new life into our world. In the midst of the darkest days of the year, the lights of the Advent wreath call out to us, saying, “show me a day when the world wasn’t new!”
This is our Advent calling: to recognize the newness of the world, to embrace it with gratitude, and to help others to see that today and everyday, the world is indeed new. We do, in fact, have something to live for: the birth of God into our midst!