December is a crazy busy month and I don’t need one more thing to do. Do you feel the same way?
Shopping, gathering (now in a socially distanced way), practicing, volunteering, earlier deadlines, and (don’t forget) making time for traditions... all of us experience at least some of these things thrown into our already packed schedules, made more complicated by the pandemic still sweeping our world. It can be easy for us to wonder if we can just focus on Christmas and our mountain of tasks and only think about Advent on Sunday when we attend or stream Mass. However, our spirituality can truly blossom in a season like Advent if we do only one thing: shift our mindset. Advent is about preparing... and before you stop reading and move on to the next thing, I invite you to go a little deeper with me.
We often think about Advent as being about preparing for Christmas and the birth of Jesus, and it is, but it is also so much more.
If we are just preparing for the birth of Jesus every year, then we Christians have a weird case of amnesia or perhaps are stuck in a weird time loop; so we know that in reality, it must be more. Yes, we remember Jesus’ birth, that great moment called the incarnation when God became a human being and was with us in the flesh. We remember that he was with us and is still with us, but we are really waiting, preparing, getting ready for when he comes again, that mysterious moment known as the Eschaton, when Christ will fully and completely redeem this world and heal its brokenness.
This Advent, I invite you to spend time being mindful of the meaning of all the little events in that packed calendar of yours. As you shop for gifts, bake cookies, and drag home the tree, you are preparing for Christmas; you are keeping alive the hope that just as Christ entered the world once to save us, he will enter again to finish that miraculous work. As you drive your kids to school or a different event you are taking part in how they grow up, you are helping them grow into wonderful adults who reflect Jesus’ presence to others, helping us all to prepare for when we see Christ face to face, at death or the Eschaton. Reflect on how, in your work or relationships, you might be doing God’s work and how this can prepare you or the world for Christ’s coming. Knowing that Christ came into the world, we can be filled with his presence here on earth, and by doing our work and tasks in his name, prepare for when he comes again.
Elizabeth Pike, Director of Music & Liturgy