Season’s Greetings from the Province Center.
To say that this time of year is special would certainly be an understatement. Sometimes, Advent is a season of our liturgical cycle that is somewhat overlooked. Christmas trees and lights go up after Thanksgiving and in some malls, Christmas decorations and music are present after, or even before, Halloween.
So, what about Advent? It too is a very special time. Traditionally, it is a season of preparation and anticipation. During this darkest time of our year, we light a candle each Sunday of Advent on our Advent wreaths. It is a gradual unfolding of the light until we light the Christ Candle at Christmas.
The important question we must ask ourselves about Advent is, ‘What are we preparing for or anticipating?’
If we are preparing for the coming of the baby Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem, we have missed the point. That event has already occurred and won’t happen again. So, what is it that we anticipate? What is it that we prepare for and pray for?
For many, it is an anticipation of the second coming of Christ, and I agree that is part of it, but it is not a passive waiting. It is an active waiting.
For me, this season is a time to slow down and prepare myself for Christ to enter my life more deeply. It is a time to reflect on the message of the gospels and try to incorporate them into my life.
It is a season of waiting and anticipation, but maybe we have this all wrong. Maybe this is not a season when we spend four weeks waiting for Christ to somehow transform us by his re-birth.
Maybe this is four weeks we spend reflecting on how Christ is waiting for us. Perhaps he is waiting for us to live more truly the mandate he passed on to us. Love one another. Welcome the stranger. Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked.
All of these are part of this great season. I pray that the spirit of Advent is not lost in all the flurry of seasonal activity.