Reading 1 Jer 33:14-16
The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will fulfill the promise
I made to the house of Israel and Judah.
In those days, in that time,
I will raise up for David a just shoot ;
he shall do what is right and just in the land.
In those days Judah shall be safe
and Jerusalem shall dwell secure;
this is what they shall call her:
“The LORD our justice.”
I wait for Advent impatiently all year long. I love Christmas, and Advent gives me structure and meaning to build my anticipation, my excitement, my worship around. There are so many people who hate the holidays because they let the secular demands overshadow the spiritual meaning of Christmas, and the joy to be found in sharing the miracle of the birth of the Christ child with our families and friends.
For Catholics, Advent is not supposed to be “Christmas season is here, party hard” although we do feel the joy, attend the parties and dinners and spend mad hours shopping.
Advent is a season of longing and preparation for our Lord’s coming. It is a time to examine our lives and our hearts, to remember to stop the mad pace of a frenetic world, and to penitentially prepare for that one most miraculous night when our Lord came to dwell with us, and the Word was made flesh.
For many people who face the holidays alone, it is a time of acute despair. My hope and prayer is that all people can find a little of the joy, the hope and the belief that is meant to be ours during this special time of the year. I pray that I might be able to make them just a little happier, or perhaps bring a little hope to someone who needs it.
I have always loved Christmas, as far back as I remember. For me, it was a respite in an unhappy childhood, a time when the ugliness was suspended, and I had a brief few weeks where I could pretend that I lived the life I wished I lived. I have never lost that love, that hope, and I have tried, along with my husband, to make that home I wanted for our children, now grown.
When my sons were small, we found many ways to make Advent a very special time, and some we incorporated into family tradition, practices we followed every year. Putting the tree up the first Sunday of Advent. Three gifts under the tree for each child. Putting out the nativity scene, less baby Jesus of course. Making gingerbread houses. Trips to see the lights and Santa. Taking the boys to buy toys for the Toys For Tots donation. Baking our own special favorite Christmas cookies. Going to midnight mass. Waiting while everyone left so that we could make our way up front to see the creche. Coming home where we read the nativity story while the boys, at long last, put baby Jesus in the manger. Opening presents, and then having our great big Christmas breakfast at 2 in the morning.
The Treehouse admins wish you a joyous Christmas season, and we hope that you will pause a moment and share your joy, and your prayers with us. We will have a recipe post later in December, but we hope that you will share your memories and your special traditions, your reflections on the scripture with us here each Sunday. It would be wonderful to share the celebrations in your town, the gatherings and traditions in your church, your home. The different ways we celebrate in different parts of the country always fascinate me. This is a season for hope, for joy, a season for belief. Put aside your worldly cares for a few moments and just welcome the Christ Child with us.
Please remember, this is not the place for politics. Honor and respect the intent of this post, and keep the arguments on the many other daily threads.