Advent Is for Getting Ready
“The function of Advent is to remind us what we’re waiting for
as we go through life too busy with things that do not matter
to remember the things that do.”
-Joan Chittister, The Liturgical Year
Christmas is coming and I am not ready. I am not ready for red and green. I am not ready for candles and wreaths. I am not ready for parties and presents. Christmas is coming and I am not ready.
Does it arrive much faster these days?
Does the earth spin the seasons ’round more quickly?
When I was a child, Christmas Day could not come soon enough. Now it seems we’ve just been singing Easter hymns and I find my kitchen counter covered with gift catalogs and grandchildren’s wish lists.
I am too busy for Christmas. My schedule is filled with people and places and proceedings. My life is so full and moves so fast — yours, too — and I feel like the abrupt arrival of the holidays might leave me with some kind of cosmic whiplash.
That is one reason why, long ago, the Church established Advent. Advent is the season of getting ready, of walking deliberately towards Holy Christmas Comings and Incarnational Communion.
Advent baptizes us into hope, promise and paradox. It challenges our sense of the way Wall Street and Madison Avenue and professional athletes, entertainers and politicians sell and tell us life “really is.” It shapes us toward the truth of grace and agape-love and joy found in manger and cross.
Advent slows us down. It prepares us to listen and to see. It gets us ready for the rare moment: “...not the moment when there is something worth looking at but the moment when we are capable of seeing.”
Looking toward Bethlehem,