Dec 5, 2017
This Advent season is a short one; we will lose the 4th week since the 4th Sunday falls on Christmas Eve. Not only does this make the scheduling of Masses a bit difficult; it also means we will not hear some of the beautiful Advent Scripture readings. We will have to do our Advent work in three weeks, not four! Advent is my favorite liturgical season. I love the hopeful imagery of the prophet Isaiah, and thinking about the colorful John the Baptist who prepared the way of the Lord, and pondering with Mary, the pregnant virgin, as she waits the birth of her child, wondering like all mothers, no doubt, what direction his life will take and what will be in store for him. We will pray with Mary this week on December 12 under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, remembering her appearance in the Americas (Mexico City) in 1531.
If you don’t already do it, I would encourage you to read and ponder the daily Scripture readings. They are so rich and beautiful, with striking images of what happens when one encounters the Lord. This Monday, for example, Isaiah proclaims that with the coming of the Lord will make the desert bloom with flowers, the weak will regain their strength, the blind will see, the deaf will hear, and the lame will leap. On Wednesday Isaiah proclaims that “they that hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar as with eagles’ wing.” Are you feeling the Advent spirit of joy and hope? If you don’t have a missalette, you can find the readings online at the US Bishops’ website usccb.org. This is also a good time of year to listen to Handel’s Messiah. If you can’t attend a performance, you can find it online as well. Can you hear the Hallelujah Chorus right now in your head? King of kings, and Lord of lords! Treat yourself to this powerful and prayerful piece of music. It’s a good earworm to have during this Advent season.
If you don’t have an Advent wreath in your home, it is not too late. Lighting another candle each week can be a nice visual reminder of the growing light that is coming among us, for he is coming to be a light that dispels our darkness. At our evening mass on Christmas eve we will again hear Isaiah remind us that “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom, a light has shone.” Perhaps we can remember that as we decorate our houses with colored lights and trim our trees. I think another good image for Advent might be the dawn. As the sun rises, the light gradually gets brighter until the full light of day is present. Have you ever said that something has “dawned” upon you? What (who?) is dawning upon you this Advent? I pray that the Lord will enlighten our lives and dawn upon us as we celebrate this season.