Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Advent: Joyful Expectation

Well, we just celebrated Gaudete Sunday.
We lit the pink candle.
I don’t think we got it.
One child in the choir told me
that he thought the pink candle
didn’t get lit until Christmas.

we celebrated Gaudete Sunday.
Did we, in fact, rejoice?
how is our advent going?
I think we just don’t get the Advent Season.

As far back as I can remember,
Advent has been described
as a time of “joyful expectation.”
It is a time of looking toward
the Second Coming.
But you know,
we don’t often get that.

Several weeks ago,
as I was reviewing music for the Advent season
I went to the internet.
For those of you who don’t know me all that well,
I live on the internet.
I saw a liturgy planning website
that actually had song suggestions for Advent
that were really more Lenten.

A “joyful expectation,”
and sometimes we can turn it
all somber or even dismal.

there is a penitential character during this time,
but it is certainly not the penitence of Lent.
And you know,
even Lent shouldn’t be dismal.

And liturgy people
still challenge each other
over such things
as Purple or Advent Blue.
Perhaps we don’t understand
the color of Advent
because we don’t understand Advent.

. . .and, if may digress,
many don’t have a clue about color
and the power of color to begin with. . .
let alone, the reasons why
one liturgical season is one color
and other liturgical seasons are other colors. . . .

But back to the season of Advent. . .

Advent: Joyful Expectation.

During Advent we celebrated
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe,
for whom I have an ardent devotion.

Without detailing the whole story,
we can, at least,
focus on something in the Guadalupe story
that is so ultimately Advent:
Our Lady of Guadalupe
appears to St. Juan Diego pregnant.
What an absolutely beautiful image
for the Advent season:
Our Lady in Joyful Expectation!
It doesn’t get any simpler than that.
Our Church has a feastday built into the season.

Just think of a young couple
as they await the birth of their first child.
Will the child be a boy or a girl?
Will he be healthy?
Will she arrive on time?
Do we have all we need:
crib, car seat, stroller. . . .
Which hospital will she be born in?
Is my doctor the best doctor?
So many details,
and yet,
such joy as they wait.
For nine months,
the young couple waits.

This is joyful expectation.
This is Advent.

Joyful Expectation.
We can also liken Advent
to a surprise birthday party.
There we are,
in the dark,
awaiting the guest of honor,
to surprise him or her
on their special day.
The party isn’t here yet.
There won’t a party
until the guest of honor arrives.
But we’ve ordered the cake.
We have prepared the meal.
We have a variety of refreshments.
We’ve cleaned and decorated the house.
We are ready!
All we need is that special guest!
And there we are anxiously waiting
in the dark, but ready!

And such is Advent.
We are joyfully awaiting
The Second Coming.

When will He arrive?
What day and what time?
Will we be ready?
Will we fall asleep waiting for him in the dark?
Do we realize that while sometimes we walk through the dark
we are actually people of light?
And is our house in order?
Are we ready to embrace the moment?
Will we be ready to sing at that moment?
Are we aware of who is with us as wait?

But let us remember that
the joy does not culminate with Christmas.
The Nativity celebrates
Our Lord’s first coming.
But even after the Christmas season
comes and goes,
we should be living an Advent life,
full of expectation,
joyfully awaiting that day
when Christ Shall Come Again!

Happy Advent!

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