By Mary Jo Leddy

Isaiah 11:1-10 | Romans 15:4-9 | Matthew 3:1-12

The Dawning of Desire

Although the sun rises every morning, the dawning of salvation is less certain. Such a dawning is both a gift of God and the fruit of our efforts.

A new world of justice and peace dawns first in our hearts as a desire to live beyond the darkness.


For some, this desire emerges as a parental hope for a better life for future generations. For others, this desire is the unseen ground of a determined resolve to move beyond the socially assigned roles of victim or oppressor. Then there are those who whose desire is set free as they hear a word of truth uttered in the dark deceptions of the moment.

Advent is that season in our lives when we face the choice between acquiescing to the darkness or acting on our own desire for the dawn. Such action would mean exposing our lives in the clear light of day.

All too often we remain in the grey area of our lives — uncomfortable with the darkness of our times but not yet committed to becoming people of the dawn.

In the scripture readings of this Sunday, John the Baptist calls us to repent of the ways in which we have allowed our desire for the dawning of salvation to become deadened. Paul reminds us of all our ancestors in the faith who did not let go of their desire for salvation even in the darkest of times. Isaiah recalls the dangerous memory of this new dawn which is handed on from generation to generation. Here and now, we have a choice as to how we want to handle this memory and hope.

REFLECTION: 1) Moving from darkness to the “clear light of day” requires that we accept God’s merciful love. In what situations are you hesitant to accept this mercy?

2) Recall news accounts you have read or watched this past year. Did you hear a “word of truth” spoken in the “dark deceptions of the moment”? Who spoke that word? How were you moved by it?

3) What might “acting on our desire for the dawn” look like in the world? In your own life?

This reflection is from O Radiant Dawn: Advent 1989. This year’s booklet is Unshakeable Belief: Advent 2013 and is available online here. Mary Jo Leddy is a writer, speaker, theologian and social activist from Canada. 

For more Advent resources, click here.

Leave a Reply