While we may hope Advent is a remarkable, spiritual journey, Advent can sometimes fill us with more anxiety because it just so happens to fall right before Christmas; how bothersome.
And we know how crazy Christmas is – from the buying gifts or making plans to travel, what outfits should the kids to wear in the Christmas photo, which Mass to attend – Midnight Mass is absolutely lovely but why does it have to be scheduled so late at night? Where did I put Gramma’s antique ornaments, should I write a chatty Christmas letter for our cards or just send the card or maybe just a Christmas email or a FB post, why does my daughter think I’m wearing an ‘ugly sweater’ and why does Andy Williams think this is “most wonderful time of the year?” Arrgghh!
In other words, our Christmas season is in desperate need of some Advent – an arrival of someone important. A someone to make us stop for a moment, calm down, sit down and remember what Christmas is really all about. Happily, nothing makes us stop in tracks more than a baby. A baby! A baby, any baby, makes us smile and talk in a softer voice, albeit kinda of high, use a softer touch and get down right giddy. It’s a baby!
But this special baby’s coming was foretold centuries before it happened and it happened just as it was foretold.
Advent makes us recall – once again – that our salvation from sin came with the ‘yes’ of a gentle, young girl, unmarried yet betrothed. She spoke to an angel and an angel spoke to her courageous man. And a baby was born in the midst of their love and in the midst of a stable.
So, get some Advent into your Christmas. Wether you decide to do every single tradition from the Novena to the Immaculate Conception that begins today to Jesse Tree to St. Nicholas’ Day to St. Lucy’s Day to the O! Antiphons the last week before Christmas. Is it a chocolate filled Advent Calendar or a Lego Advent Calendar or the one you DIY’d just last week inspired by Pinterest?
What do you have planned for Advent? This year, the Watkins’ house has our Advent candles already waiting on the dining room table. We have been using the same candles for over three years as we were given our church’s huge pillar candles after one Advent season. Happily, I expect to use them for years and years to come.
We will fill our stockings for St. Nicholas on December 6th just as my father, Nicholas did. In his home, overseen by his Belgian parents, most if not all of his Christmas gifts were given on this day rather than Christmas Day. We also have a chocolate calendar waiting to be opened, a box full of Christmas books (both religious and secular) that we’ll read, one each night. I’m hoping to do the Jesse Tree in one fell swoop over Gaudete Sunday weekend and we have a Fontanini Advent Calendar we received as gift from one of my girl’s godparents we do along with a reading of the O Antiphons, from Dec. 17-23rd.
In other words – do something for Advent. Pick one or two or all of them. Maybe you want to give your children (and yourself) some new traditions. Advent should be time to stop and look at a beautiful baby. Pause to fill your souls with great soil to start off the new year. Resting during the Christmas rush to plant some spiritual seeds during this Advent will help some beautiful flowers bloom come 2018.
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