One of the lines I miss most from the Mass (in the wake of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal) is “we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” I love the concept of waiting in joyful hope and I believe that is what is at the heart of Advent. This hope is joyful because it’s not just wishful thinking; it is confident hope. We confidently hope in the coming of Christ because we know that it has happened, is happening, and will happen!
In order to have such hope, however, we need a good imagination. In fact, it is safe to say that imagination is a prerequisite for hope. We need to conceptualize what and who it is we are confidently hoping for. In the Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent (Luke 21:25-28, 34-36; Year C), Jesus tells us that “there will be signs” that we need to pay attention to and that we need to “be on guard lest your spirits become bloated with indulgence and drunkenness and wordly cares.” In essence, he is telling us to avoid the deadly sin of sloth, which is the dulling of our spiritual acumen. It takes great imagination to conceptualize the kind of transformed world that Jesus promises us. Like the character played by Jim Carrey in the movie Bruce Almighty, when our imaginations are compromised, we can end up missing the signs that are all around us.
With that in mind, I offer to you, as my Advent gift, a chapter of my book 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness, in which I discuss the importance of Unleashing Your Imagination as a key to healthy spirituality. Enjoy! Happy Advent!
(This excerpt is no longer available. Read another sample of 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness here.)