By Deacon Bob McCoy
For The Catholic Messenger
Has the Christmas rush caught up with you? Are you frazzled, tired or worn out due to the recent deluge of advertising to buy this or that to put under the tree? We now are surrounded on all sides by the rush to get ready for Christmas. Sometimes our well-laid plans disappear like a candle flame being snuffed out. If you are like most of us you try to adapt to the change in plans and move on.
We don’t make the connection between our plans and the plans the Lord has for us over the time of our life. We often miss the message of Advent. We forget the reason for the season. The good or bad aspects of consumerism can be argued, but it moves us away from the purpose of the Advent season. Advent is a time to be alert, to hope in the promise of the future and to prepare to spiritually celebrate the birth of the Messiah. This is a period of watchful waiting in anticipation of the Lord helping us to draw closer to him.
It is sometimes difficult to accept this spiritual help because we do not like to wait for anything such as a red stop light. It is common for many of us to be impatient with ourselves and others during this busy season. Advent is an opportunity to recognize our longing and the healing love God has for us, despite the barriers we put between ourselves and God, times when we make our path rough and crooked.
This third week of Advent is a time to rejoice as we draw closer to Christmas, the midpoint of the Advent season of anticipation. The Advent candle to be lit this Sunday is rose-colored instead of violet. The Mass celebrant may wear a rose-colored vestment instead of the more somber violet vestment. These symbols remind us to rejoice, to thank God for the gifts of the Holy Spirit which guide our spiritual relationship and the desire to be repentant by turning away from sin and turning to God.
Advent is a good time to reflect on our relationship with Jesus. Take time to clear your mind of material distractions by asking Jesus for his help. This can be done anywhere you can be relaxed for a short period of time. (I do not recommend this activity while driving for safety reasons.)
Ask yourself: What are my fears as I try to move closer to Jesus? Am I afraid of failure?
Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)
(Deacon Bob McCoy is a retired deacon and former director of the diaconate for the diocese.)