This time of year is my favorite. It always has been, it always will be. People tend to be nicer during the holidays. Everyone is excited. The towns and cities transform into cities of light and celebration. The trees are bare but they seem so alive with colors especially at night.
Some people get excited for the fall pumpkin spiced latte, I look forward to the peppermint lattes. It’s cold outside, but it’s not absolutely frigid like it is in January and February. Winter just feels a little bit kinder.
And Advent of course. Advent is my favorite. I love the preparation that goes with it. It’s the time leading up to Christ’s birth. We decorate our homes, bake amazing pastries, enjoy seasonal beverages, wrap presents for our loved ones. When a woman is pregnant and the time draws near for the birth of her baby, she prepares by nesting. She gets the baby’s room ready; she folds the tiny onesies, prepares the diapers so they are ready to go, picks the perfect crib.
I see Advent as an opportunity for that as well. Christ is coming. This is an opportunity for us to nest and prepare for Christ’s arrival in our own lives.
Christ is coming and we need to be prepared. Go to confession, make your peace and get the mess of your heart cleaned up. Go back to mass and go regularly if you haven’t gone in a while. Read the first few chapters of the Gospel of Matthew and Luke which narrate the preparation of Christ and mimic what Mary and Joseph do.
Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, who is elderly and about ready to have a baby herself, and serves her. Following that, Mary is very clearly pregnant and Joseph could have walked away and handed her over to be stoned for being pregnant by a man other than him, her betrothed. Instead he listened to the Lord and made peace with Mary, taking her into his home.
Selflessly serve others and make peace with others.
A woman would not want to have a baby without having diapers prepared and blankets washed and folded to keep the baby warm. She wouldn’t want to lay a baby down in an unstable crib or leave it without clothing. She wants to be ready.
We should feel the same way about the coming of Christ. We can put up all the Christmas trees we want, hang lights on every inch of our homes. But what are we doing in our hearts to prepare for him? Are our hearts clean and tidy with smells of gingerbread and peppermint radiating from the kitchen? Or is it messy with the dust and grime of our sin and addictions?