As Christmas approaches, people have been trimming their outdoor trees and houses with lights and glowing candy canes and blow-up snow globes with revolving carousels inside.
Karan blogged about ways to get into the secular Christmas season that aren't all about spending money on frivolous things. I appreciate her effort. But I need to point something out.
The true Christmas season has not begun. It won't until December 25th, Christmas Day. In fact, it's still Ordinary Time around here.
I'm waiting for the season of expectation to begin. I'm waiting for Advent.
I'll dig out my Advent wreath this weekend, and we will light the first candle before our Sunday dinner. We'll pray for the Lord to enter our lives and our hearts.
The Christmas tree and decorations go up on Pink Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent.
The Creche will go out on the fourth Sunday.
We celebrate Christmas from the 25th until the Epiphany (or Old Christmas) and then we'll put it all away.
Advent is the ancient season of waiting for the birth of Jesus Christ. It is not a time of celebrating and drinking and feasting. That comes later. Advent is a time of holding our breath. It's a reminder of the millenia people waited for the birth of the King.
The world is missing out on the true meaning of Christmas when it ignores Advent. The true meaning is that void, that want, that waiting and expectation for our Redeemer, for the One who will show us the full and perfect way to be human, is finally filled. The point is to offer ourselves and Him to all who still want and wait, who still feel the void in their bodies or their hearts and suffer for that.
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
"And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Now I need to find the box with the Advent wreath in it!
Blessed Advent to you all.