As a child I always wondered why today’s Gospel was necessary. Why is it important that I know who came before whom, especially when I cannot pronounce half of the names included. As I became older, I yearned to know more about my own family heritage: people, names, places–things that could give me any indication of who I am and where I came from. The same applies to those readings during Advent that give us a genealogy, lists of animals and songs of praise. With these we are taken back to where it all began and are shown us how we arrived at where we are today. As we continue on our Advent journey, we are given ample occasion to turn and look back. We need that reminder of where we have come from so that we can continue to journey on to the future. This look back allows us to prepare the way of the Lord at Christmas and to open up our lives to the Christ-child.
The commercial effect of Christmas can be taxing on us. We are constantly, from the day after Thanksgiving, preparing for the next major holiday milestone, December 25th. Whether we are in line getting the best discount, gathering groceries, or wrapping gifts, we are preparing to make Christmas Day happen. If you were to ask anyone why they make all of these extraneous preparations, they will tell you -“I want my family and me to enjoy Christmas Day.” And that is rightfully so.
Advent is a time for us to enjoy, prepare ourselves for His coming, and reflect on the rich history that has brought us here. Instead of blinding ourselves to everything but Christmas, we should enjoy the journey beforehand. Throughout Advent we are graced with readings, traditions and music that exude our faith and give us the opportunity to prepare. Taking the time to prepare helps us to better enjoy the celebration, just as it would be if we were preparing for Christmas dinner. So as we prepare in these final days of Advent for the coming of Christ at Christmas, let us remind ourselves that we must take the time to prepare, to reflect upon our Salvation History.
KimValdez is the Pastoral Associate at Holy Name Passionist Retreat Center in Houston, Texas.