Because Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, we have four full weeks of Advent. Advent is a time of preparation for the great festival of Christmas. The loveliness of Advent comes from the admixture of the sense of waiting for the light in what is the darkest time of the year, the sense of anticipation that is present on so many levels—the hopes and fears of all the years of even those who do not believe—the traditions of the Advent Calendar, Lessons and Carols, the violet vestments, the person of John the Baptist shouting “Ecce Agnus Dei”, the decoration of home and church for the great feast, the great Advent hymns like “Lo, he comes with clouds descending” that make the heart leap and the eyes fill with tears. But Advent is also and primarily a spiritual preparation for Christmas, a time for quiet prayer, spiritual reading, a time to make a good Confession, a time to ponder what it means that God became man in the womb of the Virgin Mary and why this is such Good News that the joy at the procession with the bambino at Midnight Mass is palpable.
God has given us a full four weeks to prepare for Christmas this year. Each year we all make a resolution to not get caught up in the busyness of the season and to use this time for a true spiritual preparation. May that resolution bear real fruit for each of us. Make sure that amidst the preparations for Christmas that there is time for quiet and peace in our families, among our friends, in this parish church: “Where meek souls still receive Him still, our Lord Christ enters in.”
May we all have a blessed Advent that will lead to the true joy of Christmas.
Father Richard Gennaro Cipolla