There has been much in the news about how we are able to celebrate Christmas during this time of Pandemic. Last Tuesday the government issued guidance on making a Christmas bubble with friends and family between 23rd and 27th December. Thus, people having looked through this guidance are attempting to plan what is the best way to celebrate Christmas.
As we begin our new Liturgical year this weekend we have an ideal opportunity to prepare for the Christmas season that will be more than 4 days. We have the Octave of Christmas which means every day is Christmas from 25th December until 1st January.
So, we have from this Sunday till 24th December, twenty-six days, to prepare to celebrate the coming of Jesus, the Saviour and Redeemer of the world.
What would you most like to do in this time, apart from shopping, writing cards and decorating the house? What is the best way to spend these days? One simple way would be to take a copy of “Day by Day” (available in the Narthex) and prayerfully read the scriptures for each day.
This Advent is a time when we are encouraged to wait in joyful expectation. We remember those who waited for the first humble coming of the Lord and we also remember that we are waiting for his final glorious coming as Lord of History and Universal Judge. Advent teaches us to wait actively. We cannot be passive. This is clear from the readings at Mass. The psalm response for this Sunday is “God of Hosts bring us back, let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.” Jesus asks us to stay awake and be on our guard. We pray on this first Sunday that we run forth to meet Christ.
In the second week we are asked to live holy and saintly lives while we long for the Day of the Lord to come. We hear John the Baptist cry, “Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight”. We are encouraged to be happy at all times, to pray constantly and in all things to give thanks to God. Mary is a vital figure in Advent. We celebrate her special feast, the Immaculate Conception, on 8th December and on the fourth Sunday of Advent we sing her Magnificat. Waiting can be a time of great uncertainty, but we are reminded that the uncertainty didn’t prevent Mary being full of joy. We know that Jesus has already been born, has died, and has risen to save us, so we too are able to echo Mary’s “Yes” – her “fiat” – in our own lives and trust in God and wait with hopeful joy. “As disciples of Christ, we learn anew what it means to wait as Christians. We light the candles on our wreaths, place the ornaments on our Jesse trees and sing our Advent hymns.”