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2015 - Advent Reflection: Urgency

2015 - Advent Reflection: Urgency

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!” To this very day, that is how I feel when we light the pink candle on the Advent wreath. I was fortunate to grow up in a home with rich Advent traditions. It wasn’t until my ACE roommates looked at me with raised eyebrows that I discovered not every Catholic family in America sang Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel as their Advent dinner blessing.   

Thankful for the robust example of domestic church my parents provided, Advent is a season I try hard to make meaningful in my own home. The wreath takes center stage on our dinner table (even if my children love to squabble over who gets to the light the candles!). We sing Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel just as I did growing up. A felt Jessie Tree adorns our wall. My younger ones like to rearrange the characters in the wooden crèche scene I place in our living room.

I need these sacramentals in our home during Advent. They serve as cues to reorient myself to the way of Jesus. I’m too often wrapped up in the day-to-day anxieties of work and family life to pause, pay attention, and make room for God in my heart. This is why I cherish the ceremony and the little things of Advent.

But even for the lovers of Advent, today’s Gospel brings us to our knees! “Whoever has two cloaks, should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise,” exhorts John the Baptist. Be careful, I hear, lest we get so absorbed in the ceremony of Advent that we ignore our duty to charity. Our call to justice. Our obligation to mercy. 

John the Baptist, we need your prayers. Let us pray that we have a sense of urgency in this season of Advent to make way for Emmanuel by sharing our abundance with those who need it more. Let every lighting of a candle and every refrain of “Rejoice!” remind us that God’s generosity knows no bounds – and neither should ours.  



Lord, through the intercession of St. John the Baptist, stir up a holy restlessness within me, and help me to recognize in this Advent season my longing for you. Prepare the way of the Lord within me.


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