Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
December 2, 2007
Advent! - A Time of Make-Believe or Reality?
The shopping season is already well underway. This is a fact and no one in their right mind will argue that fact. Today we begin the season of Advent. This is a time of waiting for the coming of Christ. Is this also a fact, or is it simply an exercise in make-believe? There are many people who wonder what this season really means. What exactly are we waiting for? Jesus was born in Bethlehem a little more than 2000 years ago. Are we waiting for a re-birth? Or, are we waiting for Christmas day so we can celebrate the anniversary of this child’s birth?
Joseph O’Hare, S.J., gives a rather thought provoking view of Advent in his article Alpha and Omega in the latest issue of America. Advent, he tells us, is a time of paying attention, recognizing our longings and sorting out our needs from our wants.
Paying attention to our inner being during this time of year can present a serious challenge for many of us. December is the busiest time of the year. It is a time of shopping frenzies, office parties, decorating, wrapping and cooking. This is not to mention our regular work and family responsibilities. If we were not preparing for the great event of Christmas, however, we would have neither the Advent season nor the flurry of activity the season brings. Taking time to pay attention to the God within us during this season is possibly the greatest gift we can give ourselves and all others with whom we come into contact.
Paying attention to God during Advent helps us to re-focus our attention on our deepest longings. It enables us to recognize these longings for what they are and for their worth. O’Hare tells us that what we want determines, to a great extent, who we are. This is important. Our society can lead us down a very deceptive road of counterfeit needs and desires.
Advent serves us well with respect to our longings. As we find ourselves whirling in this direction and that, rushing from one store to the other and from one social event to another, we must keep in mind that there is a deeper meaning to life.
O’Hare tells us that “Advent can be a sorting out of the wants and needs that crisscross our spirit. It can be a time for clearing space. . .a recognition of what our desires really mean, the source from which they spring, what and who it is we really seek under false names and by ingenious detours. Advent can be a time for winding ways to be straightened and rough roads made smooth. It is the time to remember that only by seeking the Lord with all our heart will our hearts ever become whole.”
What are we waiting for during Advent? We are waiting for God to come to us in a way we will not be able to refuse. We are waiting for the experience of our lifetime. We are waiting for the time when we will experience a Peace of mind and heart, a deep Joy at the realization that God is living among us, and most of all an unfathomable Love that will leave us breathless. For a society that has become adept at multi-tasking, we should be able to experience Advent while living in our frenzied world. It’s worth trying at least. Have a Blessed Advent!
Lorette P. Nault