New Beginnings

“Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now then when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light…” [Romans 13:11-12]

Advent came upon us quicker than we expected! We just got back from Thanksgiving break and it’s starting to feel stressful as the semester comes to a speedy close. Finals week is almost here, and my “to-do before Christmas break” list gets longer by the hour. One of the items on my list was to prep for the Women’s Advent Brunch we had on Saturday morning. I’d been caught up in the logistics of planning, worried about the details and all the errands I had to find time to run before the week was out. Before we ate brunch together, we had a time to worship the Lord and reflect quietly on how to wait for Him well during this season of Advent. In planning for this, I was reminded that despite how fast the weeks seem to be flying, now is the time to slow down and enter into this liturgical season well.

“I give You praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although You have hidden these things from the wise and the learned You have revealed them to the childlike.” [Luke 10:21]

As I grow older, adjust to the details of this new job, and become more knowledgable and mature, I lose sight of the simple delights of the Lord. I take my faith for granted and allow the scriptures and the sacraments to become familiar, commonplace, and uninspiring. For the sake of becoming learned, I lose the childlike wonder I had when I first came to know Him. But childlike wonder is exactly what the Lord is asking of us.

When I was young, especially during Christmas, it was easy for me to enter into the excitement and delight of the season. I let my imagination run wild with thoughts of Santa and his reindeer, I watched in wide-eyed wonder as the Christmas lights were turned on for the first time, I stayed up late to see all of the candles lit around the manger at the Midnight Mass. But when I grew out of some of those childish Christmas traditions like Santa and his reindeer, I also seemed to let go of some of the wonder of the birth of my savior. Advent has become a time to start shopping for gifts and even when I do try to reflect on the birth of Christ, it is tainted by the knowledge that the calendar year is ending and my brain starts to skip right over Advent to what comes next.

Even though the calendar year and semester are both ending, the new church year has just begun. Christmas is a time of new beginnings as we celebrate the way Christ came as an infant to begin the work of salvation. Let us take these next few weeks to renew the childlike awe we used to have in His coming. The God of the universe humbled Himself to become man so that man may become like Him. When we allow ourselves to wonder at the greatness of our God, we are able to become like children again  — wide-eyed and eager to receive all He has for us.

I pray you are all able to enter into this season of waiting with a childlike wonder at the God who became man for us.

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