Pastor’s Keyboard: This is the third Sunday of Advent; however, the fourth week is a very short one. So, this is it! We are almost there, Christmas is around the corner, you can almost hear the drum beat getting louder. As I have talked with friends and family, many are worried. They have done little to no shopping, some (like myself) have yet to begin their decorating, which means everyone else’s decorations make me feel more stressed. And many say they are behind with their Christmas cards. Yet not one of the things I just named really have anything to do with proper preparation for Christmas. Walmart, Kay Jewelers, and Hallmark would have us believe differently.
The truth is that these are all traditions, some old, some new, that have sprung up around the Christmas season. Yet they are not the center, they are not the reason for the Season: Jesus is. Realizing how caught up I was beginning to get in this secularized preparation for the season, as a young priest I decided to slow down the week before Christmas and the week after. I try to keep both weeks as free as possible by only scheduling what I consider essential meetings, I then try to spend even more time in prayer and meditation on the coming of our Savior. I also try to spend more time with friends and family.
One of the great themes of the Advent Season is preparation not so much for the celebration of Jesus’ first coming, but for His second coming. This is what Advent is about; it tries to focus us on the gift that God gave to us, that we may prepare to make a gift of ourselves to Him. In writing this I am not encouraging you to stop buying your spouse presents, nor am I saying don’t decorate. What I fell I must say, more to myself perhaps then to you, is: do not allow these things to crowd out what should be our true preparation for the coming of Christ, prayer, mercy, and love for our fellow man. Have a blessed Advent Season!
Your Brother and Father in Christ,