The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

27 November 2008

Waiting for Advent

Advent is the time Catholics set aside to prepare themselves for Christmas - their homes, their families, and their interior disposition. It can be very challenging to stay in preparation mode while the world is already 'celebrating Christmas'. (I use finger-waggle-quotes, because I don't really mean the true definition of either word in that phrase, but now is not the time to unpack that further) With this being such a festive season, and with chocolate on offer everywhere, I often have to remind myself to attend to preparing for the spiritual truth of this Holy Day. (Much easier to do during Lent, because the bleak end to winter lends itself naturally to inner deprivation and sacrifice.)
This year, it seems particularly important to bring out the old traditional ways, to spend Advent in preparation, and then to really celebrate Christmas. I'm eager to clean everything, and bake scads of cookies, and cover every surface in bits of greenery (there will be no white artificial tree in this house!)
One of the familiar sights of Advent is the wreath. On each of the four Sundays before Christmas, another candle is lit, so that as Christmas approaches, the light from the wreath grows brighter. Which leads to what I want this Christmas: for my home, my family, my interior disposition to be suffused in the warm Light of Christ.
I am leaping ahead through time to leave you with one of the O Antiphons, the one meant for December 21:
O Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!
*from Isaiah 9:2. The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen.

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