Advent 2019: First Candle

First Candle ©FrogDiva Photography

The first candle is lit and with it comes the challenge of the first Advent week: change swords into ploughshares. I take my inspiration from the Ignatian Spirituality and Advent guide 2019, because when it comes to theology and things spiritual, there is no way of budging me away from the Jesuits.

Based on Isaiah 2: 1-5, the image presented to us is climbing the mountain of the Lord, not just to find him, but to find ourselves. The power and challenge in this passage is almost like a call to mission, to drop everything familiar, comforting, and simple to follow your heart and faith. The journey is not easy, however, as the path up the mountain is steep, full of rocks, thorns and often times you lose sight of the direction.

There could not have been a more perfect reading for my soul this morning, especially after the steep mountain path I climbed this year, stumbling often, leaving gaping wounds and carrying far too many swords. But the purpose of climbing the mountain is not to shout triumphantly to the world that you made it to the top and declare war on all those who remained below, but to learn humility, compassion and exchange the swords for ploughshares.

Surrender,
let go of the wounds,
and find the peace, light and purpose.

What are you supposed to carry with you up the mountain? Isaiah says two things: faith and dreams. No matter how difficult the climb and whatever losses you incurred along the way, never let go of these two. The first propels you up the mountain, the second determines how you come down the mountain.

“Come, descendants of Jacob,
    let us walk in the light of the Lord.”
(Isaiah 2:5)

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