November 26, 2011

Happy Advent

I mentioned in a previous post that the family calls me Mama Scrooge.  Unlike Ebenezer, it is not that I dislike Christmas. Quite the contrary I love Christmas. What I don't like is celebrating the "Holidays," which seem to get more and more commercial every year.  I also do not like celebrating Christmas in November. Since before Thanksgiving one local radio station has been playing Christmas music 24/7.  There are quite a number of homes in my neighborhood that are already fully decorated and lit and this week, on December 1st, I am going to a Christmas Dinner. Even my home parish has Christmas trees up in the sanctuary.

The thing is I like celebrating Advent. It is probably my most favorite liturgical season. I am what I call an Advent purist. I even have an Advent wreath hanging on my front door (with purple and pink decorations) and purple and pink bows on my windows.  Advent is a time of joyful anticipation for not only the commemoration of the birth of Jesus but in anticipation of His coming again. It is a time that I refer to as a "pregnant pause" from our busy lives to focus on preparing ourselves for the Lord's coming.  But the truth is, that for most people, this time of year are busier than ever. They rush around, anxiety levels are high as they rush around looking for the best bargains, writing out cards, decorating, cooking, baking, going to parties. No wonder that the day after Christmas most people have had enough of the "season."

Starry Night Over the Rhone by Vincent van Gogh
For me Advent is a time of introspection. It is a time to take a look at my life and to focus on my own preparedness for the Lord and to find moments of peace, time to pray and meditate on the mysteries we celebrate this Advent season. Most of all I love Advent hymns.  The sad thing is that most people are not familiar with them. They speak of hope and of the coming Savior. Over the coming weeks I will share some of them. My favorite is Creator of the Stars of Night.  This ninth century hymn reminds me of the clear, cold night sky of winter and the beauty of God's creation.  No one can look at a night sky and not ponder the vastness of the universe, and the realization of how tiny we are. Yet despite our obvious insignificance, God chose to come to us, to be one of us, and we wait in patience for when He will come again.  

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