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Advent: Let the Play Begin

December 3, 2007 - Everyone likes a good play. A good play draws you in. It keeps you perched on the edge of your seat wondering how things will turn out. A good play has characters that you cheer or jeer. A good play fills you with a sense of excitement and wonder and resolves itself in a way that leaves you feeling satisfied. I am sure everyone reading this article can or has by now filled in the blank with their own good play and recalls all of the feelings it evoked.

Advent is the beginning of a good play. It is the beginning of the story of Jesus. Like a good beginning, Advent draws us into the mystery of the story through all of our senses. Music, candles, gestures and symbols create an atmosphere that tells us something different is happening. Stories about surprising events of births unexpected tell us that we are about to enter into a time that is very different. Voices from the past fill us with hope as we struggle with challenges of poverty, violence and exclusion. The beginning of the play seems to hold out a promise of better times to come.

Advent is only the beginning. The drama unfolds as we move from the birth of Jesus to his young adulthood, baptism and ministry of preaching and healing and ends with his passion, death and resurrection. The drama of Jesus is retold during the year and in different ways we are drawn into this drama and encouraged to see the drama as our own story. Participants are uplifted, saddened, inspired, challenged and comforted as we sing, pray, listen to stories and reach out to others in service.

There are high points in the drama such as Christmas, Epiphany, Ash Wednesday, Holy Week, the Triduum, Pentecost and Ascension Sunday but each Sunday is an opportunity to relive the whole drama and here once again the gestures, symbols, music and stories are a means of pointing to a deeper reality as a good play should.

What makes drama engaging is that in some way we recognize our own story in
The Story. The more we recognize our story in the Jesus Story, the more engaged we will become in the drama. Each of us has experienced times of insecurity, exclusion, doubt and fear. Jesus experienced all of these but his essential message which he called the good news of the kingdom confronted all these feelings and provided a radical alternative to a way of live which drags us down.

So, let the play begin. Become engaged in the drama making the Story your story. Take time to see how the events in the life of Jesus parallel your own life events. Take heart knowing that there is a resolution which will leave you satisfied much more than you could ever have expected.

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