The unbreakable promise of Advent brings hope amid suffering

Blog Published: December 15, 2021
By Sister Vicenta Javier, RA
The Jacaranda Tree
Vicenta Javier is from the Philippines, a member of the Religious of the Assumption. After eight years of missionary work in Vietnam, she is now in her 11th year of missionary work in East Africa. She is an educator but has also been a formator of young sisters in the Philippines, Vietnam, Tanzania and Kenya. Currently, she teaches part time at the Center for Leadership and Management at Tangaza University College in Nairobi, Kenya.

Thinking about the reality of our world write a personal reflection, commentary or meditation on the theme of Advent.

"Look, my first jacaranda for the season!" I told the sister with me as we drove out of Nairobi to our community in the next county of Machakos.

"Yes, it is Advent," she replied.

I had forgotten that here in East Africa, the blooming of the jacaranda tree is the sign Advent is coming. The summer comes on in the last months of the year and the jacaranda thrives in full sun and hot weather. It is then the jacaranda gloriously covers its wide crown of 10-15 meters with an intense display of purple-blue flowers.Sister Vicenta Javier, RA

I thought: What a beautiful sign of hope and promise for all that Advent signifies. The waiting and expectation of the One who brings salvation, life, freedom to a people walking in the darkness of violence, corruption, struggling for life. I read God's promise in Isaiah:

No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders. But you will name your walls Salvation and your gates Praise. No longer will the sun be your light by day, nor the brightness of the moon shine on your night; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your splendor. Your sun will no longer set, and your moon will not wane; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and the days of your sorrow will cease (Isaiah 60:19-20).

I think of the jacaranda as I look for signs of hope, of the seeds of the kingdom growing in the drought of the coming dry season.

I listen to the radio and I hear informed citizens discussing corruption, the implementation of the progressive elements of the Kenyan Constitution. In a webinar, I begin to see young people forming networks to oppose the politics that thrive on ethnic divides. I see ordinary men and women begin to speak up for what they believe in. They ask, will it take a thousand years to bring about change?

It takes 20 years for a jacaranda tree to reach maturity — especially if it starts from a seed. The jacarandas are blooming — the time of the maturing of the kingdom will come — that is the unbreakable promise of Advent. The Lord will be your everlasting light and the days of your sorrow will cease.

We’re delighted to share with you this blog from the monthly feature “The Life” courtesy of our friends at Global Sisters Report. This month, The Life panelists responded to this prompt: Thinking about the reality of our world — like what's going on in your congregation/neighborhood/region/country/world — write a personal reflection, commentary, or meditation on the theme of Advent. CLICK HERE  to read more blogs from The Life series, GSR’s monthly feature about the unique, challenging, and very specific lives of women religious around the world. 

Image Above: The jacaranda tree flaunts its Advent colors this time of year. (Courtesy of Tracey Edstein)

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