A time for pause, for simplicity, for hope.
By Theresa May, contributing writer
Before Halloween I went shopping for some autumn decorations only to find that the stores were filled with flashing lights, the reds and greens of Christmas, all at low seasonal prices! I realized that I was a bit behind on the excitement and frenzy of the holiday season.
I have downsized greatly over the years to one box of precious Christmas items. During each week of Advent, I will pull out an item that connects me to events and people that I have been blessed with in my life. Those memories link the past to the present through the symbols of Christmas, and that makes joy bubble up within me!
In this Sunday’s readings, we hear from the Prophet Isaiah whose message is filled with hope for the future with the coming of the Spirit of the Lord. We will be gifted with wisdom, counsel, knowledge, delight, when justice reigns – where all will live in harmony. “There shall be no harm or ruin on my holy mountain.” (IS 11:9)
In the Gospel, John the Baptist gives us a more challenging message and calls us to repent, to have a change of heart and action. Both of these readings really speak the same message of hope and repentance. I ask myself, how am I hindering the coming of the Spirit dwelling in my own life? What do I need to do or change to live out more fully the love of Christ within? How can I live out the season of Advent in the rush of the season of shopping, wrapping, baking, and merry making? Together, how can we invite the Kingdom of God to be truly present during this season?
As I put up the manger my uncle made, decorations my children gifted me with in school, countless angels, and snowmen, I will pray for each person and for the peace that only love can bring. Our world needs peace desperately, but it will only come if we look deeply into our own hearts and actions
God longs to be with us, in us and is present all around us. The Eucharist offers us the gift
of eternal food for our earthly nourishment of body, mind and spirit. During this Second Week of Advent may we slow down for a few minutes each day and reflect on how we might live more peacefully and prepare our own hearts for Christmas. “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” (MK 1:3). May each day be a blessing for you.
Editor’s note: Theresa May is the Associate Director of Child and Family Catechesis for the Diocese of Syracuse.