Advent Reflections

by Roberta M. Meehan

Rushing madly, trying to get to Chicago. Advent! Advent! Advent!
Hang on, Chicago! I'm coming! Really.

And as I wrote that ramble, I stopped and paused and thought about
the words before me. Advent, of course, is loosely translated as a
coming. And we all know the coming in question is the coming of the
Christ Child on Christmas Day. That part is relatively easy for us.

But, what does this coming, or this preparation, mean to us in this
Advent of 2005? How can we be an Advent People when we are faced and
raced with the five week holiday season? And isn't it a non-stop
holiday? For those of us in education, we know that the time between
Thanksgiving and Christmas is an academic wasteland! We know that
this is true regardless of the level, kindergarten through graduate

If asked what this Advent Season means, most people will make a brief
statement about how we are getting ready for Christmas and then they
will start saying something about what Christ should be to or in the
world. Maybe they will even start talking about putting Christ back
into Christmas!

Most of us avoid what Advent means to us personally as a part of the
Church calendar. We may mouth the words, but we forget the
meaning. Maybe we don't really forget the meaning; maybe we simply
don't have a solid grasp of what that meaning is.

Sometimes clergy (of various denominations) try to impose a guilt
trip on people who are getting ready for Christmas too early. How
silly!!!!! This is that "put Christ back into Christmas" theme.
But, Christ is in Christmas. And we're having a party!

Christmas is a great party! Of course it is! Sure, we can go back
into the pagan origins of the feast and we can make pious statements
about the first official ecclesial celebration of Christmas in 359
(or was that 353?). But, what does it prove? Absolutely nothing!

Regardless of how the feast of Christmas came about, the thing is
that for almost 1700 years people have been celebrating the birth of
Christ! And for almost that long, people have, in one way or
another, been preparing for this great birthday party!

Yes, He is coming! And this is our time of preparation! But, party
preparations are not all somber and sad! When was the last time
anyone got ready for a great party by donning sackcloth and ashes?
No way! We are preparing for a party! A salvation party! Let us

If we are planning a wonderful party, don't we play music? If we are
planning a wonderful party, don't we laugh with our friends? If we
are planning a wonderful party, don't we decorate our homes and put
out festive things so the guests will be welcome? Of course we do!

And, I believe that that is what our Advent should be about! Yes, we
are getting ready for the birthday of our Savior. And we are getting
ready for it in fine style because we already know he will arrive
safe and sound. Oh, we will not be able to see Jesus in persons at
our tables and around our Christmas trees. But, he is coming! And
Advent is the time that we are preparing for that coming.

Oh, wait! Maybe we do see Him! Maybe the Christ, whose birth we
await on Christmas day, is seen in every person who stops by during
this Advent season! Maybe the Christ is seen in every person who
sits at our tables. Maybe the Christ is seen in every family member
who is or was or will be a part of that circle of people we love and
rejoice with! Maybe the birthday presents we have for that Christ
are the presents we wrap for each other! After all, we see our party
guest of honor in every person we wish "Season's Greetings" to.
Don't we?

The third Sunday of Advent is Gaudete Sunday, and Gaudete means
rejoice (because it's half over!). Oh, I think we should rejoice the
whole time!!! All of Advent should be Gaudete! Not because Advent
is half over at any given point. But, rather because we are reminded
so clearly of the coming of our Savior in every person we see, in
every decoration we put up, in every meal we prepare, in every visit
we make, in every present we wrap.

This is a wonderful season! Gaudete!!!! Let us rejoice! We're
going to have a wonderful party, and we are now having a wonderful
time preparing for that party! Play the music! Deck the halls!
Sing and laugh and be in Christ's love with one another!

Oh yes, Chicago! Rejoice, Chicago! I am coming to be a part of the
wonderful party preparations! Jesus, thanks for being, and thanks
for this opportunity to rejoice with each other as we see the Christ
in every person we meet, and we are getting ready for a great
party! Let's have a wonderful time preparing for our Christmas
party, as Jesus reminds us once more that we are the People of God!