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Advent: My favorite Church season

If I were to be asked to name my favorite Church season, hands down, it would be Advent. In preparing to write this blog, I reflected on why I felt that way and I decided it was a mixture of ritual and moods.

What are some of those rituals? Lighting candles on the Advent wreathe, one week at a time, creates a mood of expectation, surrounded by the calm and peace a lighted candle brings. It beckons me to quiet, to be in the moment, to reflect, to pause.

When I do not have an Advent wreathe, just lighting any “Advent candle” will do it for me.

The Church decorated for Advent

Familiarity

Another ritual, if I may use the word in this instance, is singing or even just listening to familiar Advent hymns, perhaps none so well-known as “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”

Closer to the days before Christmas, each verse sings one of the “O Antiphons,” making it especially meaningful and definitely a prayer of the Church dating back several centuries.

Again, the O Antiphons speak of expectation, longing, waiting.

In other Advent hymns, we are presented with these same themes – longing, waiting, expecting, preparing – each word rich for reflection and application to one’s own day.

In these days of Google, I can easily find the words and usually a musical rendition of the hymn.

Taking time to listen and reflect makes my Advent day a little more special.

How Will I Prepare?

One hymn that challenges me on my Advent journey is from Godspell, “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord.” That refrain, repeated over and over, becomes haunting, the words reminding me that each day, each hour, each moment God comes into my life.

Each day I need to ask myself, how will I prepare to meet Christ? Christ, who comes in a variety of disguises; the clerk in the store, the person I pass on the street, my co-worker, my neighbor, my spouse or other family member, a stranger.

Is my attitude one of welcome, one of inclusiveness, one of joy and acceptance? Do I expect this meeting, long for this meeting, anticipate this meeting?

However you spend your Advent, may its graces and gifts be rich, fruitful and beautiful! Let us pray for each other.

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Sister Ann Casper

Sister Ann Casper, SP, retired as the executive director for Mission Advancement for the Sisters of Providence in 2018 and currently serves as minister of Providence Community Cemetery at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. Sister Ann has ministered in various scholastic and administrative positions in Indiana and North Carolina. She also was a member of the Sisters of Providence leadership team, serving as General Secretary.

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13 Comments

  1. Paula Damiano, SP on November 26, 2022 at 6:17 am

    Thank you for the inspiration!

  2. Debbie Griffey on November 26, 2022 at 6:20 am

    It is also my favorite time. Thank you!

  3. Denise E Safford on November 26, 2022 at 10:04 am

    Thank you, Sister Ann. I try to slow down in anticipation of Christ’s birth, but I’m not very successful.

  4. Stephen Modde on November 26, 2022 at 11:22 am

    Your reflection draws me into the Advent Spirit. I read it twice. With nightmare info in the news and sickness around us, your words call me/us to not live in pessimism but rather in the Christ light filled with Hope… and love, mercy and compassion! Thanks!

  5. Paula Modaff, SP on November 26, 2022 at 11:41 am

    Indeed, your invitation to pray with each other, Ann, touches me deeply. More than ever, I enter into this Advent, minute by minute. Thank you!

  6. Ken Siarkiewicz MAPT '91 on November 26, 2022 at 12:29 pm

    Thank you, Sr. Ann, for the quieting, reflective thoughts. At the beginning of the liturgical year Advent is an opportunity to reflect on one’s spiritual state and to renew oneself through prayer and the readings at Mass. These can be further guided and nourished by one of the many spiritual daily reflection guides that are available. I am reminded and made aware that Christ is coming into the world, in symbol and in reality.

  7. Donna Butler on November 26, 2022 at 1:11 pm

    Ann, Thank you for a glimpse into what Advent means to you, the highlights of ritual and prayer and insights into your own faith journey. I always look forward to Advent. Every November I start longing for it to come and it never seems long enough. There is something about it despite all the hustle and bustle of the season that creates a refreshing sense of stillness in me and hope for the world even amid so much sorrow.

  8. Ann Henderson, PA on November 26, 2022 at 2:10 pm

    Thank you for this thoughtful blog. These themes of longing, waiting and expecting, are all prominent themes of life for me, highlighted in this season of Advent. Longing for what exactly? Peace, a full heart, awe, to name a few, which sometimes comes in a fleeting moment, through a glimpse and sometimes comes in big waves, a deep saturation, yet always found as a result of openness to love, demonstrated by Christ.

  9. Marilyn Kofler, SP on November 26, 2022 at 2:19 pm

    This Advent, this time of waiting, takes on special significance for me. This is the time to welcome the Lord who comes to welcome loved ones into the heavenly Christmas celebration. This is the time to give thanks and praise God for lives well lived and loves freely given. This is the time to be still and contemplate the wonders of creation, from death unto eternal Life. This the time to say once more wholeheartedly: YES! Thank you, Ann, for welcoming the season with your good words and memories of meaningful rituals!

  10. Denise on November 27, 2022 at 7:44 am

    I just listened to Prepare Ye The Way of the Lord. Thanks for reminding me, Ann.

  11. Connie SP on November 28, 2022 at 12:10 pm

    So enjoyed your reflection Ann. I too love Advent

  12. Linda doyle on November 29, 2022 at 9:51 am

    When I was a child we sang a song in church there will be showers of blessings (1840-1901) written by Daniel Webster whittle , this hymn is based upon the scripture Ezekiel 34: 26-27 . I’m sure mother Theodore could have sang this song coming from France to New York on that missionary voyage . Each morning I begin by counting my blessings: on November 12 traveling to the woods to begin my candidacy to become an associate with the sisters of providence . Blessing 1/woke up -blessing two /Jesus loves me-three delicious coffee/4 safe drive to the woods during the snow and fog . And here comes one of the big ones I had the privilege of sharing a meal and table with sister Ann Casper. Thankyou , sister sue and Debbie . Blessings in your day 💕❣️🧡💓

  13. Susan Paweski, SP on December 1, 2022 at 6:49 am

    I love the sights and sounds of the Advent season too. It is about the hustle and bustle which counters well with the quiet of the Advent rituals. Thank you for your reflection, Ann. Blessed Advent!

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