The season of Advent is a season of Hope, Anticipation, and Longing – or at least it is supposed to be. It is a time when Holy Mother Church invites us to enter into the emptiness of the waning days of Autumn – Winter begins December 21 – with its fading light, chillier air, and, sometimes, blankets of snow covering summer’s productivity. Daylight is shorter and the lengthening darkness that surrounds it and imbues our world has a natural quality that causes us to turn inward. Maybe that’s why we shun it so readily and try to fill our world with a light that is artificial and man-made. Maybe that’s why we insert the life-less joys of material dreams and premature celebrations, so as to avoid the reflective nature of the season that wants to focus on our inadequate and insufficient relationship with our God. He is not only the Creator of Light but Light itself. It is his desire to be the Light of our hearts, the Light of our minds, and the Light of our very being, our souls. His desire for us is beyond our comprehension, as is His commitment to not hinder our Free Will, which, along with our intellect – created in His image and likeness – sets us apart and above the rest of Creation.
It is difficult to avoid all the material sensations that bombard us during this time of year. Holy Mother Church focuses our attention on Christ’s second coming so that we may enter into the same unknown expectation our ancestors experienced over two millennia ago when they longed for the Messiah. Yes, we know He has come and we celebrate His birth on Christmas Day but He promised to return. This is the anticipation that Holy Mother Church wishes us to embrace as a reminder of the Eternal Life God has prepared for us. This is a time to prayerfully enter into the natural emptiness of the season so that we can better appreciate the joy and fulfillment His coming brings to our minds, our hearts and our lives, and our souls. This is a time for us to heed the words of the Baptist and prepare His way and make straight His paths.