Here’s the first of our Guest Blogs for 2012, from my fellow Catholic Digest blogger, the wonderful Mary Breiner. Enjoy!
Photo by Tim Green, Flickr.com. http://www.flickr.com/photos/atoach/
Advent is almost here, it’s just around the corner. Already we hear about it in Mass, we read about it in our various booklets, we are thinking about it even as we prepare for Thanksgiving. Advent, that time of waiting, of preparation. A time when we not only commemorate the first coming of our Lord as an infant, but we look forward to the second coming as well.
The problem? We have become a society that does not like to wait. We are a society of instant gratification. Our children even have trouble sitting still long enough for stories and board games because they have become used to video games and DVDs that give them full entertainment for no effort on their part, except perhaps use of their thumbs on the game controls. We no longer even call on our phones, instead sending “instant” messages and texts. This has caused yet another problem in that we are losing our ability to interact with one another on a one to one basis. We don’t write letters anymore, and our children no longer learn cursive writing in the schools. We don’t know how to wait, if we want something, we go get it. If we can’t afford what we want, we use credit to get it now.
I wonder if children still have that excitement that comes with waiting for Christmas? So often today, they get the toys and new gadgets they want when they come out, and don’t have to wait, so what is there to look forward to? Even our stores and shops get into the act, putting up Christmas decorations before Halloween is even over. The secular world doesn’t even acknowledge Advent, everything is about the big finale, Christmas.
I believe we are missing a wonderful opportunity in all of this. There is a sweetness that comes from that gentle desire for things to come. There is something very special about waiting for things we want. Especially the longing that comes with something so very special as the coming of our Lord. We look forward to visits from family at this time of year that we haven’t seen for a long time. We should look forward in the same way to the coming of Jesus. I think we need to teach this to our children, help them learn the delight that comes with finally attaining something we have longed for. We can do it a bit with Advent Calendars, but I question the use of the ones filled with a candy for each day of Advent. There is a wait, but a daily reward as well. I would much prefer a special daily prayer or Bible verse to be looked up and discussed as a family around the dinner table. Use of a crèche is also a good habit. When my son was young, he looked forward to adding a different aspect of the manger each day, and slowly moving the Wise Men around the living room as they traveled to the crèche. He especially loved being able to place the small baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas morning. It all gives them a chance for sweet anticipation. Would that we could all feel that anticipation during Advent, looking ahead and waiting patiently for the coming of the Lord.
My wish for you this Advent? A sweet anticipation, a feeling of longing, and finally, the exhilaration that comes with that final attainment of what we desire so much, the Lord in your hearts and homes. God Bless.
My name is Mary Breiner, and I belong to a small parish in eastern-central Kentucky. I became a Catholic on December 12, 1981 while in college. It was one of the most important decisions I ever made, as it has colored the direction of my life ever since. I am married, with a grown son. I am of Native-American decent, and have found a way to combine the beliefs of my ancestors and my Catholic faith in a very satisfying way that gives respect to both. I am disabled, having been in a wheelchair full time since 1998. I am a artist who paints in most mediums, as well as jewelry maker, rosary maker, greeting card designer, and many other crafts, including some Native American ones. I’ve been involved in many aspects of my parish, including 25 years involvement with the CCD program, the last several as CRE. I retired from that post several years ago, but remain somewhat involved to this day. I am a Lector as well as head of our Faith Formation Team. My faith is easily the biggest part of my life, and I always look forward to sharing it with others and hope it can affect their lives positively. As a result of this I was a blogger for Catholic Digest for several years in an attempt to share the faith. I hope always to be able to share my faith is some way with others.