School Sisters of Notre Dame – Africa

Transforming the World through Education

ADVENT ANEW – First Advent in Sunyani, Ghana

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This is a reflection of one of our Sisters spending her first Advent in Ghana.

Early morning stillness is wrapped in cool fog permeated with fertile moisture.
A gentle breeze stirs the air with life and freshness.
I sit in morning prayer drinking in the quiet before the day’s activities move forward.
Snow and Ice are far away as are the dormancy of a northern winter, the long dark nights and the hidden buds and bulbs that await many months in darkness and silence before springing into life.

Northern Pines stand tall and waiting linking me to Canada and what I know, sentinels of hope and everlasting life, welcoming me to be at home in this land now, while waiting with attentiveness for the coming of the fullness of God’s home.

This Advent, the luxurious green remains after the rains have come and gone.
Our bushes are bursting with vibrant colour: fuschia, brilliant orange, flaming forth red , amid the pure white and shy pink of lovely crocus-like blossoms.
Bougainvilleas everywhere silently shout life, hope and joy in the midst of dryness and dust. In Peru these flowers have another name: Papillion, I think, or butterfly trees. Truly signs of life in the desert.

Harmattan has blown in to stay until the April rains come in again.
New Advent symbols alongside the familiar candles, hymns, readings and expectation nurture my spirit readying my being for God’s coming transforming me more deeply, slowly and irresistibly into God’s image and likeness.
‘O come, O Come Emmanuel…Rejoice, rejoice, O Israel..shall come to thee, Emmanuel.

God’s love is not confined nor confining. We, the universe, all creation are held in the ever-beating and ever-present heart of God everywhere..

I am specially gifted this morning with the peaceful humble entry of pure white egrets softly, unobtrusively gracing our lawn outside my window. This is the second morning I have been welcomed by their visit. I will watch and wait for their coming. Their presence is friendly, peaceful, and re-assuring. I feel myself smiling in quiet contentment.

The sweet song of birds join us in morning prayer and graceful butterflies flit near our chapel. Rejoice, God dwells here! Morning has come and so has our God
Later in the day, the full intense heat of the noonday sun has chased the mists away and the coolness of the night is a faint memory. This cycle will spiral each day for the coming months, placing in our souls a longing and thirst for the heavens to open, for the Word of God to leap down daily into our lives.

I am grateful for this new moment, inviting me to be attentive and mindful, to open the eyes and ears of my heart and welcome God in.

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