Advent is upon us and, yes, we’ll be honest and admit that the first thing that comes to mind is that there are only 24 shopping days until Christmas. Uh oh. How do you reconcile your desire to prepare spiritually for the great Feast of the Nativity of Jesus and celebrate “the Holidays”? Listening to the priest yesterday as he preached about Advent being a time of preparation, I thought, Father, you don’t know the half of it.
How do you find time to clean the house, especially if you are expecting overnight guests? How do you get the tree up and decorated? How do you get the littlest ones downtown to see Santa? How do you buy and wrap those gifts? How do you shop for groceries and cook? How do you get those 1,000 or so Christmas cards written and mailed? How do you manage all this and more while doing the normal activities of family life and perhaps holding down a full-time job?
Well, you must saying to yourself, this is hardly encouraging coming from a blog on handing on the Faith. I am happy to report that my colleague in the Catechetical Office, Jim Connell, has come to our rescue at our Catechetical Office website with a wonderful “Advent in 2 Minutes” video from Busted Halo. The video explains what Advent is and isn’t, and it speaks to all the good things and frustrations of this time of expectation. It also suggests an Advent Calendar, which is a great idea, and an Advent Wreath with three purple candles and one pink taper to light. Neither opening a calendar page nor lighting a candle takes much time.
Even you are frustrated and exhausted, you owe it to yourself and your family to take five minutes from your day to think about and pray to the One whose birth we will celebrate. And while you are at it, think about his mother and Joseph. They remind me of the refugees of whom Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew spoke in their joint declaration in Turkey yesterday. Many of these refugees are worried husbands. And many of those women are pregnant. They are not worrying about a clean house. They don’t have a house at all. Santa is not on their radar. All they can think about is the safety of their children and where they will find shelter. That sounds rather like Luke’s Infancy Narrative, doesn’t it?