First Thursday of Advent – Attentive to God’s Nearness by David Bayne


This morning’s post for the series Jesus is Near How do We Draw Close comes from David Bayne.  David is from Southern California, but is now blogging at Wheresdavebane from Buenos Aires,Argentina where he lives and serves with Word Made Flesh. WMF Argentina is a community called to serve and discover Jesus among vulnerable children and young adults living in poverty, many of who live and/or work on the streets of Buenos Aires.

Advent – Attentive to God’s Nearness

There is something about Advent that sparks my attentiveness. For me it is a season of refreshment and refocus. Especially in what can be a super busy time of year, I desire to make space to listen, space to be still, and space to be nourished in this season of Advent.

In her book The Liturgical Year, Joan Chittister says of Advent, “… the [liturgical] year opens with Advent, the season that teaches us to wait for what is beyond the obvious. It trains us to see what is behind the apparent. Advent makes us look for God in all those places we have, until now, ignored.” She goes on to say that Advent hones our insights and reminds us what we are waiting for. This reminds me to take time this Advent to look beyond the obvious places and pay attention to the places where God is near.

This past year the posture and practices of attentiveness offered in Ignatian spirituality have been especially significant in my life. So, it seems appropriate to carry these practices through the Advent season. Specifically, I intend to wait and pay attention to the themes of Advent using the practice of examen. The examen, based on the spiritual exercises of Saint Ignatius, helps us recognize the voice and movement of God by recognizing the consolations and desolations of our lives, both the beautiful and the broken. Examen helps us look beyond the obvious and hones our attentiveness.

As I pay attention to the Advent themes of hope, peace, joy and love each week of Advent, I plan to reflect on the following questions of examen:

– Where have I seen or experienced hope (peace, joy, love) today/this week?

– Where have I not seen or experienced hope (peace, joy, love) today/this week?

As I enter this season of Advent, I desire to be more attentive to God’s nearness. I desire to draw close to God and God’s people in the recognizing the hope, peace, joy, and love in the present.


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