Dec 2, 2012

Posted by in Advent, Articles & Essays, CHRISTmas | 0 Comments

First Sunday of Advent

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Today marks the first Sunday of Advent, that time when the colors in the church are a violet purple shade, the Advent wreath adorns the side altar, the Giving Tree is prominently displayed and we begin to prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to discuss Advent, Christmas and other Catholic related themes with Kristi, my future daughter-in-law. She is taking the RCIA classes at her church, studying to become Catholic. When I arrived at her home, she showed me her beautiful Christmas tree and Nativity set. This led to a chat about whether the Baby Jesus go in the crib now or does that not happen until Christmas Eve?

Shortly after, we went to her class at the church. I have the privilege of being her sponsor so I got to attend this class with her. The topic of the night was the Liturgical Year. Appropriately, the leader of the class opened with a discussion about the anticipation of Advent, how this is a dark and contemplative period that leads up to the joy and lights of Christmas because of the birth of Jesus. She told of how the celebration begins at the Midnight Mass and goes through the Twelve Days of Christmas, the Epiphany and the Baptism of Jesus. She even discussed traditions that some families have of not placing the Baby Jesus figurine into the crib until after the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass.

I was glad to have shared the tradition of our family with Kristi. She already knew of it because Jeff had mentioned it. Somehow, though, my sharing that little tradition with her, along with a few others (such as not placing the Magi in the Nativity set until Epiphany and not lighting the tree lights until Christmas Eve), made me feel an even stronger connection with her that surprised and delighted me. Here is a wonderful young woman who will soon become my son’s wife and my daughter, and she is seeing the traditions in both our family and our church all at the same time. It makes this Advent particularly wonderful for me as a mother; it also makes me feel honored to share my faith with her.

Last night, as I drove through my neighborhood, I saw so many houses have bright Christmas lights and decorations adorning them. I could see lit Christmas trees shining from living room windows.  Seeing all of this, makes me want to dig into the containers where I have our decorations stashed, but I am not in a hurry. I am going to immerse myself in the contemplative spirit of Advent. I will prepare the way of the Lord through prayer, decoration and sharing fellowship and food with family and friends.

I will not, however, light the tree lights just yet. It is, after all, only December 2!

Until next time,

There will be strange things happening to the sun, the moon and the stars. On earth, whole countries will be in despair, afraid of the roar of the sea and the raging tides. People will faint from fear as they wait for what is coming over the whole earth, for the powers in space will be driven from their courses. Then the Son of Man will appear, coming in a cloud with great power and glory. When these things begin to happen, stand up and raise your heads, because your salvation is near.
Luke 21:25-28 


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