Now We Can Begin

18 Dec

“Christmas is fast approaching. And now that Christ has aroused our seasonal expectations, he’ll soon fulfill them all!”  ~ St. Augustine, Sermon 51

Happy Birthday, Steve!  When I was young, I couldn’t wait to celebrate my oldest brother’s birthday.  Oh, I have to admit, it was not for the reason you might think.  I mean, he was ten years older than me and we were not that close because of the difference in age.  No, the reason I couldn’t wait to celebrate his birthday was because Christmas was always put on hold until after his birthday.

Because he was born so close to Christmas, my parents always wanted to make his birthday special and not overshadowed by Christmas.  (That didn’t work, by the way, you know, the whole overshadowing thing.  My brother often got a combo gift “it’s for your birthday and Christmas” so he still missed out.)  We would celebrate his birthday around noon.  Then, once the birthday party was finished, all the Christmas decorations would come out.  We would put up the tree and decorate the house as we prepared for Christmas a week later.

Here we are, on my brother’s birthday, a week away from Christmas.  When I was very young and didn’t understand calendars much, my brother’s birthday came in handy because I knew that Christmas was right around the corner.  We need pointers like that in our lives.  That is why the Church gave us the wonderful season of Advent.  It spends it’s entire time pointing to the Lord and doing its best to get us ready.

Are we listening?  Are we understanding?  Are we ready to embrace the season for all that it’s worth and use it to prepare for a worthy spiritual celebration of Christmas?  That is the big question.  Christmas is a week away.  Some of us might be wondering how it has gone so fast.  Some of us might be aghast because we really haven’t done anything yet.  Some of us might be relieved because it’s almost over.

It’s true that some of us may not have utilized the season to its full capacity yet.  I urge you not to submit to guilt and give up on yourself and the season.  There is still another week.  There is still a lot of good that can come from the season.  The temptation at this time of the season is to begin to slacken our resolve.  Instead, we need to redouble our effort and utilize Advent for all that it’s worth.

FAITH ACTION:  Whether you have done much or little this season, make a firm purpose to use the remaining days of Advent to prepare yourself spiritually for Christmas.