We are re-entering the holy season of Advent during this first week of December. Once again, many devout Christians will make the effort to rescue some of the deep Christian meaning of Advent from the flurries of commercial and consumerist "snow" that the season revels in.
An Advent Wreath, when given a prominent place in the home can help to focus the family’s attention on the coming and the spreading of the Light of the World, Jesus the Savior.
Advent Calendars provide daily revelations of the scriptural imagery and verses that speak to us of the Incarnation of the Son of God.
Christmas Carols abound during this season on radio, streaming music, satellite radio, background music in our stores and streets. Try to remember that many of these popular songs began as liturgical hymns, sung by people gathered in church to celebrate the birth of the Savior many centuries ago.
In the Church’s sanctoral cycle, we will remember both the Immaculate Conception of Mary, on December 8, and the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12. On December 9, we also remember San Juan Diego, the indigenous convert who received the visitation of the Blessed Mother in America, upon whose cloak the image of Our Lady is still reverenced today.
Finally, we also invite you to come to this website daily to engage with our daily scriptural reflection, which is offered throughout the year by members of the Passionist Community and those who share in our life and work. Special Advent content is also planned for the duration of Advent on this website, https://passionist.org/ .
A special word of reflection on today’s Gospel, from the Gospel of Luke. In a sense, it is an expression of praise that Jesus utters under the influence of the Holy Spirit. It is a moment in the course of his sharing with his Apostles that reveals to us how closely Jesus lived in concert with the Holy Spirit and the recognition of His Father. Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike…" (Luke 10:21).
With a little extra effort, with the assistance of so many of these Christmas traditions, we can also ask for God’s Holy Spirit to burst forth from us as we hum along with or sing "Away in the Manger," "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear", "Joy to the World," "O Come, All Ye Faithful," "O Holy Night," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," "Silent Night," "The First Noel," or "What Child is this". These songs of the season have a religious, a Christian lyric. Let us use the resources we have, especially let us invoke the Spirit of God, to keep alive in our hearts during this Advent season the same awareness of God that moved Jesus to praise God, the Father under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Father Arthur Carrillo, C.P. is the director of the Missions for Holy Cross Province. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.