Souls in Waiting

In this Advent Season, Jennifer Merck shares some thoughts on waiting.

There is so much about this season that feels dark. I mean that in every way you can possibly imagine. During Lent, the Souls (in many ways) were in sync with the Church Year. We were in mourning. We were confused and perplexed and sad and uncertain. We were waiting.

Yet, the Church Year moved on, as it does. The Souls have tried so very hard to keep up. We embraced Easter, and the season of Pentecost. We have leaned into Trinity — embracing our community, finding ways to celebrate the Souls. Our banner blessing a few weeks ago was a “product” of this season of good and hard work.

Here we are. Advent has begun. And still, the Souls are waiting. In some ways, the Church Year has come back around to where we have been all along. I invite you to lean in to this season. Part of the beauty of the Church Year is to simply allow the seasons to BE — to BE within your soul, to allow them to germinate new things and influence your mind and heart. Advent is an especially good time for seeds of hope to germinate — underground and unseen.

In the coming days and weeks, Seasons for Souls will provide all households at All Souls with lots of resources for leaning in to Advent, then Christmas, and then Epiphany. Be on the lookout!

For now, I will leave you with some of my favorite Advent quotes. For me, these capture the season. They capture the harshness and the starkness of the cold winter ahead. They capture the waiting, and the hope contained deep down in that waiting. And they capture the liminal space — the already and the very much NOT YET.

“The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themsleves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
“It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope.” (Pope Benedict XVI)
“The Lord is coming, always coming. When you have ears to hear and eyes to see, you will recognize him at any moment of your life. Life is Advent; life is recognizing the coming of the Lord. (Henri Nouwen)
“In the silence of a midwinter dusk, there is a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen. You are aware of the beating of your heart. The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.” (Frederick Buechner)