Thoughts on Advent

Advent is a penitential season: thus, the purple. Like Lent, Advent is a time to contemplate our sinfulness that makes us unworthy of the coming of Our Savior.

(As an aside: To practice penitence during Advent I have experimented a little bit so far with backing off of consumption of sweets, Lent-style, like Catholics used to do–the Trapp family did all their Christmas baking during Advent but sealed the goodies in tins and did not eat any of them until Christmas! I can’t imagine–perhaps someday I’ll choose to practice that kind of penitential waiting, but not yet!)

But–although we were and are unworthy, our Savior didn’t come because of our worthiness–He came because of His Love.

I have only realized for the first time this year that the purple of penance and the readings from the Old Testament that are used in the liturgies of Advent are more to give us role models of how to wait for Christ’s Second Coming than to evoke a nostalgia for pre-Christian religious attitudes! He is coming again at some point, and I would do well to be ready. In fact, there is nothing more important than for me to be ready, for regardless of whether I see the Apocaclypse or not I will meet my God at His judgment seat one day.

As I write this, a line from the old Disney movie Robin Hood comes to mind, where the Sheriff of Nottingham says to Friar Tuck, “Save your sermon, preacher!” I certainly don’t mean to preach, but simply to explore some thoughts about what the Church intends Advent to be for us. The point of every feast day and every Season of the Church Year is designed to lead us closer to Heaven, so each one offers different opportunities for prayer and study. I have always loved this time of year, but now I am being swept off my feet by its richness as I pray, learn, and read. (My Advent meditations book is very good, by the way!)

I hope that you are experiencing spiritual fruitfulness during this beautiful season, too. Can you imagine what Christmas will be like this year, if Advent is this good?

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