Advent and Christmas is a time to prepare and to celebrate the coming of Christ into the world, the Word made Flesh.
But what does that mean to us who seem so caught up on things like “Black Friday” that is now happening almost a week before. Or, how about the stores that are getting the jump by opening at 6pm on Thanksgiving night, is that the type of preparation and anticipation that we should be celebrating?
You all know the answer to that, so why do we in the Church take this time of Advent, to anticipate, to prepare? What we are doing is recalling the patience of our spiritual ancestors, who looked forward to the coming of God’s anointed One, the Christ.
So, what are you doing to make this time special for family? Perhaps taking some time to tell the stories of past Christmases in which you, maybe not so patiently, waited for the gathering of family or on a more basic level, the anticipation of coming gifts.
Take some time to recall what it is that we are waiting to celebrate, and how we can make that celebration a true encounter with our Christ, by the encounter we will have with family and friends.
So as we begin this new Church year, let us make just one resolution, to deepen our encounter with Christ, as we encounter his sisters and brothers in the Church. This would be a good time to also, in those encounters, practice the gift of Mercy. Remember, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has established a Holy Year of Mercy, beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, to run until the Solemnity of Christ the King in 2016. In what ways can you make the year of 2016 more profound by your practicing of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy?
May you and all those you love have a spirit-filled Advent, a joyful Christmas, and a New Year filled with peace, joy and love.