Why do you let us wander, O LORD, from your ways, and harden our hearts . . . Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down . . .
The first reading almost groans aloud to me . . . I know the yearning of my own heart blazoned beneath my chest. What mother does not know the practice of pleading and the need for hope this first day of Advent.
Maybe I am not the only one who has felt like certain trials of mothering have been akin to exile in so many respects. I have waited, I have wandered in limbo, waiting on fulfillment of whole seasons—a waiting—like a motherhood of Advent. The messes in the family, the financial strain, the ache of the passage of time, the exhausting joys. . . I long for the promises of the Messiah like never before. My eyes fall across the page as I reach the end of today’s first reading:
O LORD, you are our father; we are the clay and you the potter: we are all the work of your hands.
It is here in the light of this age-old metaphor that I begin to contemplate how my need for God’s mighty, masterful hand is the key to taking hold of the only hope that sustains.
This image of God as the potter and myself as the simple lump of shapeless clay (dry, fragile, fragmented, and sometimes misshapen!) brings poignant power that speaks directly to the longing I wrestle with.
If God is the ultimate artist, then I can breathe in the hope that his loving masterpiece is being fulfilled right through the rudimentary ingredients of simple clay. All is the ingredient in God’s masterful shaping of our hearts and families. His plans are far-reaching—so beyond my understanding.
In the Gospel reading, you and I are being called to awake with vigilance: Be watchful! Be alert! . . . The Lord of the house is coming. We are being called to open the eyes of our heart with each day of Advent and to taste of the salvation in Jesus—the world is waiting for the coming of Christmas. May the reshaping of our hearts reflect the light of Christ—our hope!