Sunday Stride – Moving towards Joy

This week’s #SundayStride and all those during the Advent season includes a pdf reflection. This week’s reflection is on the topic of Peace with questions, prayers, and an Examen to guide you through your week.

Sunday strides are written based on the lectionary readings of the day from the Catholic Lectionary. A stride is a “step in progress towards an aim” – for me, a Sunday stride is another movement towards the greater. You can find this Sunday’s readings here.

Have you ever heard the phrase “Patience is a virtue”? I remember hearing it often growing up, but I never really knew where it came from. Google tells me it comes from an obscure 14th century poem called Piers Plowman attributed to William Langland, who is also an obscure poet of which we know little. From what I gather from further research, the poem itself addresses the question of this world and the next and the need for both works and grace for salvation. So, perhaps patience in this context is something that we are BOTH given as a grace AND something that requires work from us to exercise. Makes sense. 

Patience is so challenging, after all. Particularly, it seems, at Christmas time. 

It is fitting that the Gospel readings on the third Sunday of Advent are centered around patience. Having three little boys eagerly awaiting Christmas day and the arrival of Santa Claus is definitely an exercise in patience for both me and them. I don’t know how many times I have heard the question since Advent started: “Mom, so Christmas is tomorrow?” I get it at least once a day. “No, son, there is still a week or so left.” Whichever child is asking will usually pause to consider what I have said and respond using their best concept of how time works “So in two days?” Sigh. [Honestly, the even better response is when they sigh themselves, stomp their foot and said “Christmas isn’t coming for 100 years!”]

So, they are impatient for Santa, but really aren’t many of us impatient about something this time of year? Impatient waiting for days off of work or family to come in or time to wrap presents or the new year to start? I feel the impatience in my own heart as well. But pausing to look at the readings today, I realized something. I am impatient about a lot of things of this world, but the people in the readings, they were impatient about the coming of the Lord! 

It makes me wonder, what should we really be impatient about? 

This week is also the week that we light a pink candle of our advent wreaths, a candle that represents joy. The Church, in her wisdom, reminds us that we can be joyful while waiting for something. We can be joyful, celebrating the things that are occurring right before our eyes. We can be joyful and present here in this world, while patiently waiting for what we will encounter in the next. 

My prayer for all of us this week is that we are able to have patience with ourselves and others as we look forward to the coming of the Lord with joy!

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