The First Tuesday of Advent(ure)

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The word advent comes from the Latin adventus, meaning to come into being. The word is used in modern times capitalized as the season when Christians prepare for the coming of Christ.  Uncapitalized it means the introduction of.  For example, communications were changed with the advent of personal computers.

The word adventure comes from the same Latin root.  Isn’t that what we’re on right now, an adventure?  For twenty-six days this year, we’re on a quest to learn more about our savior and in the process learn more about ourselves.

Unlike Lent, which is a journey of prayer and sacrifice in preparation for Christ’s death and resurrection, Advent is a time of anticipation.  Imagine what it must have been like living in the time just before Jesus’ birth.  The Jewish people had been waiting for centuries for the coming of the Messiah.  The prophets told them He was coming.  Surely there were signs that could be interpreted to mean that He was coming very soon.

But the waiting.  It must have been terrible.  We have the advantage of history to know exactly when He came, how He came, and why He came.  The Advent season is our symbolic waiting, our adventure.

Christ has died.  Christ has risen.  Christ will come again.  We know “he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.”  But we don’t know when.  Only God knows.  So, like those ancient Jewish people, we share the experience of waiting.  In fact, we have much in common with our Jewish friends.  We wait together, because our “second coming” will be their first.

So, as we experience this adventure, waiting for the holy season of Christmas, we might want to reflect on how it must have felt for those men and women of the era that we refer to as BC,  before Christ, waiting for Him to come.

Secular society puts pressure on us to shop and to entertain this time of year.  Advertising constantly reminds of of the absolutely “must have” gifts.  We’re busy, busy, busy.  It’s very easy to forget about the coming of the savior when we’re so focused on whether we’re going to get the latest cell phone or video game on Christmas morning.

See, we Catholics are a counter-cultural bunch.  For many people the “Christmas season” started last Friday morning, in the wee, small hours when the big box stores opened their doors for the black Friday sales.  For those folks, the “adventure” is finding the right stuff at the right price and getting there before it’s gone.

Nothing says that we can’t be excited about the latest cell phone or the latest video game, and that’s OK.  The first thing on our minds has to be the birth of the Savior, the child born in the manger in Bethlehem all those many, many years ago

For us, that’s the beginning of the Christmas season.

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