First Sunday of Advent
My first memories of Advent are as a child in our suburban Boston home. Mother brought out the Advent Log to set on the dining room table as a center piece. The log had five candles, four purple, one white and had sprigs of evergreen attached to it. Each Sunday when we gathered for dinner we would light a candle and my Dad would offer a blessing over the meal.
When my wife, Diane and I established our own home, my mother gave us a beautiful Advent wreath which we still own. We continued the tradition of lighting a candle on Sunday, reading Scripture and offering a prayer before the meal. Our three children looked forward to this tradition each week during the Advent season and when they were old enough we included them by allowing them to light the candle and offer a reading.
Advent is a time of waiting, a time of anticipation and a time of longing. I am saddened by the pressure to rush toward Christmas only to have things come to an all too abrupt end on December 26. There is something counter cultural and perhaps subversive about our celebration of Advent. Collectively by our songs, our prayers and rituals we are saying to our culture: “We will not be hurried toward Christmas!” We will be quiet, we will take time with our families to pray and allow the anticipation of Christmas to build just as parents’ anticipation builds toward the birth of a child. We hope these Advent reflections will help you avoid the rush. “Maranatha, Come, Lord Jesus.”
Fr. Larry Blake, Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministry