This weekend, we begin the season of Advent, four weeks of preparing for Christmas. One of my past parish ministries was writing a reflection for our weekly church bulletin. Advent reflections could be my most challenging because the Pastor encouraged us to focus on preparing for Christmas, instead of celebrating Christmas throughout December. “Advent is a season,” he would say.
This was a reflection I wrote at the beginning of Advent one year that resonates with me this year:
“As we begin this time of preparation for the birth of Jesus our savior, I am so very aware of the suffering throughout the world, in our cities and neighborhoods, and in our homes. Peace seems elusive; despair seems pervasive.
“The Advent readings, though, remind us that we are a people of hope from a tradition of hope. The light of Jesus overcomes the darkness of despair.
“Advent is highlighted in the Church year as a time of waiting which is something that many of us are not particularly good at doing. We have become a people of instant communication, instant replay and instant gratification. We have fast food, EZ pass and express lanes. We tend to want what we want when we want it. For many, this is most true during the month of December.
“This Advent, I invite you to try something different. I invite you to deliberately try to slow down and experience the season of Advent. I invite you to put off celebrating Christmas until the end of Advent and to use this time as an opportunity to become stronger in our faith, more rooted in our traditions.
“Here are some suggestions for the weeks ahead:
- Spend a few minutes every day with the Sunday or daily scripture readings.
- Save and don’t open the Christmas cards you receive during Advent. Open a few on Christmas Eve and then a few more during each evening during the Christmas season.
- If you decorate the outside of your house, do not turn the lights on until Christmas Eve.
- Create an Advent wreath for your home—three purple candles and one pink.
- If you put up your Nativity set during Advent, wait until Christmas Eve to place the baby Jesus figure in the scene.
- Simplify your gift-giving practice. Give more handmade and symbolic gifts.”
I remember writing this piece while I was drinking my morning coffee from my Christmas mug, so very aware that I am one of those people who feels uncomfortable with the not-yet, who likes to jump ahead. I am reminded of the words of Teilhard de Chardin.
I was supposed to be in Europe right now, but I decided against going because of covid. So, the thirteen days I had planned to be away are now free. I will use this time for baking, knitting gifts and writing Christmas cards. I will try to be more patient. I will set up my Advent wreath and ponder light and hope.
How will you celebrate the season of Advent?
One of the things I do for Advent is to follow an Advent blog. This year’s them is hope. I’ve written a post for the blog last year and the year before. I am hoping I will be inspired this year to submit another post. You could submit a post, too. I will put the link below. I enjoy the daily spiritual blessing each day through Advent. https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/74095798
Thanks for sharing, Betty. I will check it out. My alma mater (Villanova) does a daily reflection for Advent (and Lent) which I get. I think Advent is a season I could continue to practice because I am usually rushing ahead to what’s next. Happy Advent.