The Season Of Advent
As we journey towards the end of the year the church concentrates minds and hearts once again on specific themes as it celebrates the season of Advent/Christmas, a time of preparation, leading into celebration…
Of course since August the Christmas cards and gifts have been on sale, and we seem to be celebrating Christmas well before the event has happened, and therefore miss out on the importance of Advent/Christmas, which is a true preparation of our selves, our lives and our faith. As soon as the shops, restaurants decide that the holiday season has begun, usually, in late October, we are drawn into the Christmas parties and numerous Christmas meals, so that when the time Christmas finally comes, we have all had enough, and everything comes to a crashing halt on December 25.
But we Christians own Advent and Christmastime. The symbols of these seasons are our property, not advertisers’ gimmicks. So it is important that we keep Advent and Christmas in church and at home according to our tradition. And they are both worth keeping.
We need Advent. Without it, we stop being what we are: a people waiting. We need the gospel’s awesome announcement of the end of time. We need the prophet’s words of warning and consolation. We learn who we are through the uneasy strains of John the Baptist and in the gentle strength of Mary.
And we need Christmastime. We need a festival that runs beyond a single day, beyond a single week. We need time to tell the whole story about the journey of the Magi, and the embrace of old Simeon and Anna, and God’s voice thundering what we like to hear: You are my beloved child.
Of course, Advent cannot exist if we jump the gun on Christmas. And Christmastime cannot exist if we are already tired of it by December 25. These two seasons require each other. Only after the silence of Advent can the carols of Christmastime spring into life. Only after Advent’s darkness can a single star be a sign of hope and give so much cheer.
So this year, let us do our Christmas shopping BEFORE Advent starts (two weeks) so that we keep the season of Advent as it should be kept, by waiting in anticipation, renewing our faith through prayer and reconciliation, celebrating Mass more often. After all, who celebrates the birth of a baby before the event? Let us celebrate Christmas having prepared so well.
Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)