I am so happy it is Advent. I love this season. I love it nearly as much as I love Easter.

I love the waiting, the thrill of the expected. The Advent wreath. The readings. The joumey ofAdvent. The build up to Christmas.

Sometimes people say Advent is about waiting. It is, but it’s a particular type of waiting. It’s not a twiddle your thumbs type of waiting. It’s not the waiting you would do in a waiting room. It’s notlike waiting at the bus stop.

No, Advent waiting is different. Advent waiting is more alive, alert. In our Advent waiting we are alert. On the alert. Our Advent waiting is more a, ‘let’s roll up our sleeves and get ready’ type of waiting.

So waiting, yes but also very much a period of preparation.

Have you the puddings made? Are you going for a fresh or frozen turkey? Are you seriously considering a goose? Don’t forget the row last year about the brussel sprouts. Make up your mind now there won’t be a repeat performance.

On your checklist in the lead up to Christmas from cards, presents, tree, crib (what, you don’t bother with a crib? Seriously?) right down to the cranberry sauce, have you included some soul food?

I mean, is it possible that Advent could come and go and you’d find yourself beached on the couch rubbing your tummy saying ‘well that’s it done for another year!’? Could you get to St. Stephen’s night and not really have given any serious thought to the reason for the season?

Please don’t be shocked or scandalised, I could. Yes I as a priest with all the crazy, mad business of it all. With Masses, Confessions and Carol Services I could find myself on St. Stephen’s Day, saying yes I was at a lot of services, I led liturgies, I said a lot of prayers but did I actually spend any quality time alone in sacred silence in the quiet joy of Advent waiting?

I am resolving now that won’t happen. I am respectfully and gently offering a challenge to all of us, starting with myself, that we make this our best Advent ever.

Yes let us be resolute, as a little act of love for the Lord who has given us so much, let us get serious about Advent. Christmas Confession? ( SoulSpa – a full day of Confessions on Saturday 21st December), Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, Sacred Silence, Prayer Walk, Spiritual Reading are all possibilities for our Advent journey. Fraternally, Joe McD.


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