Date: December 13, 2021
By: Michele L.
As we enter into the season of Advent leading up to the joy-filled celebration of Christmas, I wonder if we have been waiting too long. By this I don’t mean that Christmas, with all its trimmings and feasting, should hurry up and get here because we need some comfort in this world full of turmoil and confusion (although this may be true). Rather, I mean that maybe we have been waiting too long for this world to change back to whatever our normal may have been prior to when Covid was introduced as a pandemic. Perhaps, in this time of solemn preparation for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus, as Emmanuel: God with us, we should stop for a time to consider what it is we are truly waiting for.
Most of us have endured trials these past two years. Maybe we have watched a loved one suffer, or have lost someone dear to us. Perhaps we lost our livelihood through becoming unemployed. Most of us have suffered some sort of emotional distress through the many challenges this time has wrought. Have we put ourselves into a holding pattern while anticipating the day when Covid is finally declared as being over? Have we put our very lives on hold by not embracing each day as a gift that we should seek to thrive in?
Many people have used the extra time they may have had recently to do some deep cleaning. Purging and organization are buzz words used often by many who have, perhaps grudgingly, done what they can to make the home they are more confined in look and feel more comfortable; present company included. This has made preparing for the sparkle of Christmas decorating a little easier for some.
Advent, a tremendous gift of the Church, has always been a time of penitential anticipation, much like Lent is before the glorious celebration of Easter. During Advent, we prepare for the first and second comings of Our Saviour while Lent is spent preparing for the resurrection of Our Saviour and contemplating His sorrowful Passion. This means that as we prepare our homes for His arrival, we also try to prepare our hearts and souls. Are we awaiting Christmas Day with excitement because it is a release from the normal pace of life, or are we awaiting with gratitude and hope because God sends His only begotten Son to save us from sin?
Joy. Joy has been pursued throughout all the ages. We await Joy. Can we find it at this time, in this place? In our attempts to grasp it, we try to buy it, give it, admire it, and create it. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galations 5: 22-23).
“We who are Christians have a further cause for joy: like Jesus, we know that we are loved by God our Father. This love transforms our lives and fills us with joy." (Saint Pope John Paul II)
Let us, during this season of Advent, in the year 2021, live in solemn anticipation of the birth of Jesus with hearts filled with hope. Let us surrender our hearts, minds, and souls to the loving embrace of Mary, our Blessed Mother. She will lead us to the place of peace that she must have felt at the birth of her Divine Son, even in the midst of the cold and discomfort of a stable. Our peace and ultimate joy can still be experienced in the midst of any difficult situation. It is not dependent upon the condition of our circumstances.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."( Romans 15:13 RSV)