The week after Halloween, I received a call from a popular company asking me if I were planning on purchasing from their catalogue for Christmas. I couldn’t believe it and told them I would like to get through Thanksgiving before I start thinking about Christmas. Then on Thanksgiving before I’ve had a chance to digest the turkey I was told that Target has massive crowds of people wrapped around the entire building eager to get the Thanksgiving day sales. Forget about black Friday we have to jump start that too. It seems like every year we are being rushed to start earlier than the year before. We rush to beat the crowds to get everything on our list, rush to decorate the inside of our houses, then the outside, we bake, we run from one event to another, all for some fat man in a suite that doesn’t exist, to come down a chimney (I don’t have), to give us presents we don’t need. Could it be, that we changed the Liturgical calendar celebrating Christmas to a pagan solstice feast to gain converts? Perhaps, it was naive to assume the meaning of Advent and Christmas would not be lost from doing so. Ask any American child what Christmas means to them and you will hear answers like, presents, Santa Clause, reindeers, Christmas trees, cookies, etc.
I believe it’s up to us to keep the true meaning of Christmas in our hearts and families and to keep our stress levels down with the rest of the world that does not get it. Their not suppose to get it, 1 John 2:15, John 15:19 Do not love the world or the things in the world If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
The Advent season is ironically opposite of what the world’s interpretation is which includes “rushing” it is about “waiting” waiting with Mary. As she prepares her heart and home for the birth of Christ so do we. Like her we are called to birth Him into the world by the way we live our lives. We prepare during Advent for the evangelization of our faith.
This first week let us reflect on the Annunciation, that one single event in and of itself is remarkable. Mary said “yes” to collaborating with the Holy Spirit for the impossible and we know by faith that which seems impossible for man is not impossible for God (Mark 10:27). In what areas of our lives is the Holy Spirit asking us to collaborate and say “yes”? and like Mary will we be able to let go of the controlling reins and allow the Holy Spirit to take over? Let us light our first candle of the Advent wreath and sit with Mary as she pondered all of these things in her heart (Luke 2:19).