My Dear friends and parishioners of Holy Family,
As we prepare for the Christmas Season (which, by the way, doesn’t start until the Christmas Eve Vigil, Monday December 24th and lasts this year until January 13th, “The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord”), let us be reminded what the Season of Advent is all about.
The four short weeks of Advent is a time of Spiritual preparation of expectation of the coming of Christ. Since Christmas is the annual celebration of the Birthday of Jesus (His first coming), this season is meant to open our minds to the folly of those who misjudged God’s graces at Christ’s first coming and to open our hearts to the correct form of preparation (for we who live in the “in-between "times) who are preparing for His Second coming. This is the reason why the first weeks of Advent are filled with stories regarding the “end times” while the stories of the birth of Christ only come near the end of this season.
What good is it to us if we celebrate the Birth of the Son of God, if He is not born to us in our hearts and actions? What we are led to reflect upon during this “Season of Preparation” is the renewed awareness of what Christ means to us now and throughout our lives, and that our goal within our lives is to prepare to meet Him “in person”. This is why the Birth narratives are filled with the stories of Shepherds and Wise Men “relating to” and becoming physically close to the God incarnate. But, how can we do that now? This is the reason why Jesus leaves us with the Eucharist, His Body and Blood. We are given the opportunity, in our days, each day, to taste the Lord in His Glory, in order to awaken in us the love and desire of a God who loves us, similar to the experiences of the Shepherds and Wise men. This is the Season of that awakening.
This Advent might you think more about your relationship with the Lord and how you can improve that; instead of, what decorations are on or in your house, what presents you need to buy, or what parties there are to go to! I have said it every year. Do you think any of these shallow preparations would mean anything, if Jesus decided to come back on December 23, 2018? Do we think he would be concerned about decorations and parties, or would he ask us what our life long gift has been to spread His presence and love to the world?
Make your Advent special this year!
Very Rev. John C. Giel, V.G.,