The season of Advent is full of contradictions, so says Dr Kevin Hargaden, Social Justice Theologian at the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice and Presbyterian Elder.
Advent is filled with light and darkness, optimism and hope, and happiness and joy – but ultimately, he said it’s about time coming to its fullness.
Dr Hargaden gives the Examen prayer as an example of a helpful reflective tool for the season of Advent. “It’s an Ignatian spiritual tradition that ultimately guides us to recognise where God is active in our life.” The different stages include reflecting on where God has been present in the day, giving thanks, reviewing the day, facing shortcomings and anticipating the coming day.
The theologian spoke with Pat Coyle about the importance of spiritual nourishment during the often-difficult waiting period of Advent. But says it also offers an eternal hope that our greatest dawn may come after the darkness. Referring to the story of the infant Jesus, he said: “I think there is great solace and consolation in remembering that God has surprised us before, and we can trust that he will surprise us again… so keep the faith.”