Thursday, December 5, 2013

What are We Waiting For?

The other day my daughter started whistling a Christmas tune. I don’t know if she did it because it feels like Christmas to our family, or because she wanted to get under my skin. This is our first fall as residents of the Midwest. Where we came from, in the desert, it doesn’t feel like Christmas until February. In early December in our former stomping grounds, one still finds it too warm most days to wear a jacket.

So my family is pretty excited that we will need coats this Christmas. Sorry, but for all my years in Arizona, the whole Christmas by the pool gig just didn’t work for me. I’m an old fashioned kind of guy, and I like Bing Crosby’s version of Christmas better. (Yes, I know Jesus wasn't born in the Midwest, but still...)

At any rate, I suspect she did it just to annoy me. She knows where I stand with the premature Christmas celebrations. I want to enjoy Advent before it slips away, for crying out loud!

The Season of Advent gets neglected--- let’s face it. That’s why one of our priests, in his homily for the First Sunday of Advent, so passionately proclaimed that it is not Christmas yet. He’s right!

The word Advent means arrival, or coming. It means something is going to happen. In this case, it is something big.

I was talking to a colleague about this, about how we are a culture that does not like to wait for anything. We want what we want now. Our culture wants Easter without Lent and Good Friday, and Christmas without Advent. We Catholics have such a gift in our liturgical calendar which helps us stay in season, and in sync with God’s Plan. That is hard for the culture to grasp.

This is a sad thing because so much happens in the waiting.

In the waiting, God prepares our hearts. In the waiting, we anticipate and consider the value of the coming event. For instance, part of the enjoyment of a friend’s visit is the anticipation and planning for it. During Advent we are preparing to celebrate the birth of the Christ which happened, but we are also preparing for the Second Coming which is to come. Are you ready? Are you prepared? Are you working on being prepared?

May I suggest--- stealing an idea from a priest whose blog I read recently--- that one thing we do in the waiting is spend some extra time with the Eucharistic Lord in adoration? Wait with Him in the chapel. Speak to Him in the depths of your heart, and listen to Him as He prepares your heart to celebrate His coming. It will be Christmas soon enough.

(By the way, Drawn to Life Ministries will be presenting an Advent mission in the Valley of the Sun on the evenings of December 9, 10, 11 at St. Helen Catholic Church- 5510 W. Cholla St., Glendale, AZ, 85304. The presentations begin at 7pm and will end by 8:30pm.)

In the meantime, go ahead and whistle some Advent tunes.