Advent. A time of waiting. A time of joy. A time of repentance. A time of hope. A time of growth. A time to quiet ourselves so that we can hear the Christ Child when He comes into the world.
I do love the season of Advent. It’s a new season in the Liturgical Year, so that means I get to change out my breviary, and make some “new year” resolutions. I love lighting our Advent wreath. I love the kids putting hay in our manger each night as they get ready for Baby Jesus to come. I love the hot cocoa, the cookie making, the gingerbread house decorating, our annual Posada potluck, Dan creating his Christmas village. I love going out to cut down the perfect tree and then slowly getting it ready (we put ornaments on it on Christmas Eve.) I love vacation beginning and the anticipation the kids have for Jesus’ birthday. I love all the time we get together as a family. We have some traditions that we really love. But, it is also busy… card mailing, picture taking, shopping, trying to figure out the best presents for each kid and keep it in our small budget, the school play, the holiday concert or two that we would like to get to, overcoming the temptation to buy or make something for every person we know…etc…
Sometimes I wish we could all go off in some cabin in the woods, and really DO Advent. Do Advent, without the hustle and bustle of the holiday madness that this world thrives on. Just come away and sit with Mary quietly as Christ grows in her womb and she prepares to welcome Him, her Son, her God, into the world. What beautiful thoughts and prayers must have flowed through Mary’s heart during her Advent.
Advent is an opportunity to really invite Mary “in.” Into the home of our heart. Finding for her the best spot for her to rest; making her as comfortable as she can be while pregnant; preparing for her the best meal, knowing that food is also nourishing her Son as well. But also, as a good host does ~ sitting with her; listening to her; being present to her; sharing and listening. And there would be silence too. Time to ponder. Time to ponder this great mystery of the Incarnation, of God becoming man, of His overwhelming and unfailing love for us, of his deep humility in coming into the world as a helpless baby, totally dependent on His mother and father for even the most basic of needs. Being born in a stable, in the cold, in a place only fit for animals, our God comes to us….
Mary didn’t spend her Advent away in a cabin in the woods. She made preparations for a great journey, traveled far – very pregnant, rode on the donkey, was rejected by inn after inn, with no place to rest her very tired body, and the world around her was also hustling and bustling with the madness of the census. And yet, in the midst of it all, she quieted herself, prayed to her God who was growing in her womb, and pondered… in silence.
The world around her was constantly moving,
but her soul was still and quiet,
preparing for the Christ Child to come.
Let us ask Mary to guide us this Advent. Let us invite her into our hearts. Let us ask her to help prepare our hearts too, that we may be ready to truly welcome the Christ Child this Christmas, into our souls, into the quiet of our hearts.