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.
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.