“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
~ Emily Dickinson
There is nothing better, in my mind, than this time of year. One of the things that frustrates me about the advertising mentality of our commercialized world is that Christmas already begins before Thanksgiving with the non-stop playing of Christmas songs on the radio and Christmas sales in stores. They begin Christmas so early that the season of Advent generally becomes totally ignored, except by the Church.
Advent is a wonderful season of hope. The hymns of Advent, the readings of Advent, and the Mass prayers of Advent all help us to look ahead to the promised hope of the birth of Christ and the joy that birth has brought to a world enslaved by sin. When we gloss over Advent, we deny ourselves of the opportunity to prepare for the wonders of Christmas as best we should.
We fill our thoughts with material preparations of Christmas — baking cookies, cleaning homes, buying and wrapping presents, visiting family and friends — but we often fail to reflect upon the true nature of both Advent and Christmas: the coming of Christ and the fact that He will come again. Shopping and baking and visiting and gifting all have their place; however, their place should be viewed through the lens of the seasons, both Advent and Christmas.
Emily Dickinson knew what she was talking about. What better way to fix the lens for us to view the season than to fill our hearts with the music of the season. I always see people humming and singing Advent and Christmas songs at this time of the year. Doing so helps to focus on the real nature of Christmas (that is, if they’re singing to themselves things like “What Child is This?” or “Silent Night” and not “Gramma got run over by a reindeer”).
My prayer for you is that hope, that thing with feathers, perches in your soul and chirps to you about the wonders of God, the promise of His Son, and the joy of eternity with the Lord.
FAITH ACTION: Let the music and the melodies of the season of Advent sing to you of the hope of the birth of Jesus.