Third Week of Advent

Third Week of Advent

“It’s not so much how busy you are, but why you are busy. The bee is praised. The mosquito is swatted.” ~ Mary O’Connor

‘Tis the season of insane hustle and bustle! There are presents to buy, soirees to plan, parties to attend, trees and homes to decorate, cookies to bake, and columns to write. (Ok, that last one may not pertain to all of you, but alas, it finds itself on my hectic holiday “to do” list.) This is definitely a “busy work” time of year, and because of this, I find that I often loose sight of the reason for the season. Not that I completely forget that Christmas is about the birth of Christ, that would certainly involve some ridiculous beyond crazy busy schedule; but, if you’re like me, perhaps you too feel at times that you are so over extended in the tasks leading up to Christmas, that you forget to spend time with the Christ who is here, the God who IS with us. Ironic, isn’t it? In the days in which we are preparing to welcome Him as a child, we forget we can be with Him — in prayer, in Scripture, in the Adoration, and most intimately, in the Eucharist.

Last year, I witnessed this irony of being so busy preparing for Christmas that easily forgotten was the fact we can, and NEED to, spend time with Christ… who is here, who is truly present!

As is the norm for the Christmas Eve Mass at our church, and I imagine yours too, if you want your family’s regular Sunday morning pew (and I know you all have your spots… we are all creatures of habit), you need to get there and “save your seats” a good 75 minutes prior to Mass. By saving your seats, I don’t mean you are spending your time praying your wooden pew will come to Christ, I mean you are throwing every coat, hat, burp rag, and song book you can find over a specific area to ensure you, your spouse, the kids, and grandma and grandpa won’t be standing in the back of the church for 2 hours.

Last Christmas Eve wasn’t any different. All decked out, the Wahlquist family donned all their seat saving gadgetry and headed to church with 60 minutes to spare and a plan. Once at church, my husband valiantly saved our places in the front right of the altar, and in assigned 20 minute intervals each of my 3 kids took turns sitting with me in the Adoration Chapel.

As we sat in the quiet presence of Jesus, I was so struck by the fact that here, hundreds of people were filling the church in eager anticipation of the coming of the Lord, and yet only about 6 people were in the Adoration Chapel spending time with Him… truly with HIM… with Emmanuel!

The noise of the hustle and bustle outside the Adoration Chapel walls evoked an excitement of the festivities to come, yet the quiet and serenity within those same walls gave rise to something greater — to an incredible realization that we were about to celebrate the Lord humbling Himself and becoming one of us so that we might become one with Him, and the Father, and the Holy Spirit. To say my eyes filled with tears at the realization of how much the Lord loved me would be an understatement.

That experience had a tremendous impact on me and showed me that I need to change my ways of preparing for Christ to enter my life anew. So, “bee”-cause I’m crazy busy, I decided this year that instead of trying to incorporate some drastic new intense Advent prep plan to proclaim the coming of Christ, I’m going to do it in little ways, and I invite you to join me.

Three Simple Promises for this Advent

  1. I’m going to wish people a blessed Advent up until Christmas Day. This may not sound like much, but trust me, it can be a teaching moment. Already the woman at the bank asked why I didn’t say, “Merry Christmas” and I was able to tell her, that I was preparing for the coming of Christ… and that I could hardly wait to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas. This brought us into another teaching moment about the true season of Christmas, and at the same time had us reminiscing about the stellar performance of Miss Piggy in the John Denver and the Muppet’s rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas. If that isn’t joyful evangelization, I don’t know what is!
  2. I’m going to spend the hour before Christmas Eve Mass in the Adoration Chapel with my kids. As my husband ensures grandma and grandpa won’t stand for the Mass, I will have each child take a turn saving seats with dad, and then saving souls with mom. And, by saving souls I mean that our prayer before the Blessed Sacrament as we listen to the Christmas Mass prelude music in the Church, will be that the birth of the Christ Child and the gift of the Christmas season turns souls back to God.
  3. I’m going to tell people I am doing these two simple things, and I’m going to invite them to do them with me… like I just invited you to do.

I know that my life these next few days is going to be crazy, and I know I will be busy preparing for Christmas, but I am going to make a special effort, however small it may seem, to not be too busy to spend time with the present Christ… and I’m going to trust, that should I veer from that, you -my brothers and sisters in Christ- will give me a soft and gentle swat to remind me to “bee” busy with Christ.

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