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A Treasury of Arkansas Writers Discussing the Catholic Faith
Official Website of the
Catholic Diocese of Little Rock
Published: December 12, 2020
By Lou Ann Gieringer
Campus Minister, Mount St. Mary Academy
We are halfway through Advent, and most of us are wondering what Christmas will be like this year. It might be strange, or even lonely for us. We might not be able to get together with family. Some may not be able to physically attend Mass.
During this 2020 Advent we may have a hard time finding the will to join the Advent journey to Christmas. We may feel isolated or depressed. It is true that this year is different. Everything is different and has been since March. And yes, we might not be able to do all of the things we traditionally do. But Advent is here and Christmas is coming.
We may have a Zoom Christmas morning, we may do a drive-by Christmas in some way. If we look for delight in the journey and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us, we will find it.
If this was a traditional year, by now we would be at the “I can’t get everything done before Christmas” stage. Every year, most of us say that we are not going to go overboard on the commercial Christmas. We say we are going to focus on Advent and we are going to engage in finding time to celebrate Jesus’ birthday.
But, let’s face it. Most of the time we start out great by incorporating some Advent traditions. We might set up an Advent wreath or a countdown-to-Christmas calendar. We might decide to read the Bible every day, or use an Advent booklet. We might decide to purchase gifts for the less fortunate or do some type of service. We might add going to Mass on weekdays. We might decide to not make Christmas about spending lots of money. You get the idea.
When I taught kindergarten, I used a song called, “Christmas Time is Comin’” sung by Raffi. The chorus of the song is, “Christmas time's a comin', Christmas time's a comin', Christmas time's a comin' and I know I'm going home.” This is what Advent is all about: coming home to Jesus and his birth. It is not too late to join the journey to Christmas.
According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the “Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the General Roman Calendar” (no. 39): “Advent has a twofold character, for it is a time of preparation for the Solemnities of Christmas, in which the First Coming of the Son of God to humanity is remembered, and likewise a time when, by remembrance of this, minds and hearts are led to look forward to Christ's Second Coming at the end of time. For these two reasons, Advent is a period of devout and expectant delight.”
Did that document say delight? It most certainly did. We are asked to delight in Jesus. This is the year to look at the journey in a new way with tradition as the guide.
It’s never too late to join the journey. We still have time to make our Advent personal and reflective. And it is also a time for us to prepare our hearts to be at home in the love of Jesus on Christmas. We can look at our traditions. We can celebrate the ones that are doable.
We can be creative and find new traditions. We may have a Zoom Christmas morning, we may do a drive-by Christmas in some way. If we look for delight in the journey and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us, we will find it. Happy Advent and Merry Christmas to come.