November 29, 2020

First Sunday of Advent

We are like grapes waiting on a vine. As the psalmist says, “Once again, O LORD of hosts, look down from heaven, and see; take care of this vine, and protect what your right hand has planted….” Here we are at the end of autumn, with November’s last days upon us, cold wind chilling us, and we are still waiting on the vine. “How long must we wait?” We might think to ourselves, echoing the sentiment of Psalm 13. How long will we be left on the vine? Will we wither? Will we fall from the vine? What will become of us?

So many anxieties and fears stir in the minds and hearts of those who wait. Recall a moment in your life when you waited to get the results of a medical test? Did your mind rest tranquil in God’s grace, knowing God would accompany you through whatever might come? No doubt that was an aspiration. But even the most tranquil mind is beset by fears and anxieties when receiving a cancer diagnosis or when experiencing flu-like symptoms requiring a COVID test. All the “what if’s” sneak into our brains as we wait to see what will happen next.

It’s difficult to imagine, but waiting can be used to a good end. Winemakers discovered such a change of perspective when early low temperatures froze their grapes. Through their ingenuity, they saved their crop by turning frozen grapes into Ice Wine, a unique sweet dessert wine. Today this process has become intentional, especially in northern climates. Winemakers leave select grapes on the vine well into November and beyond, waiting for that first frost and the grapes to freeze. The grapes must then be plucked and pressed while they’re still frozen. Yet they yield a late harvest delicacy that brings cheer to Christmas gatherings and family tables.

Waiting can be tough, as we are all too aware! But waiting can also bear good fruit. It’s how we choose to use our waiting, that is important. This Advent “waiting” is a time to grow on the vine. It’s a time to nurture our relationship with God. God will turn our waiting into something unexpectedly fruitful, because that’s who God is.

Let Us Pray:

Gracious God, you who send your Spirit to sustain us like grapes sustained on a vine, help us to bear good fruit in this Advent season. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.


Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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About John Christman, SSS