This Advent don't forget the meaning of Christmas

Priest Damian O'Connell, of St. Patrick's Cathedral, writes this letter to Omnes readers inviting everyone to recover the true meaning of Advent and Christmas.

Damian O'Connell-December 7, 2023-Reading time: 2 minutes

An Advent wreath (Unsplash / KaLisa Veer).

Dear Readers,

What do we expect from Advent? What do we think is coming? 

When we were children, we experienced the four weeks leading up to Christmas as a period of anticipation, filled with anticipation, of the upcoming celebration of Christ's birth. The Advent wreath and Advent calendar, the preparation of special breads and Christmas cookies heightened our anticipation of the coming celebration and were milestones in a time that seemed endless.

As adults, we learn that Advent is more than just a preparation for the celebration of a past event: the birth of Christ. It is, moreover, a time to turn our attention to the preparation for the future coming of Christ in glory. For the faith of the Church is that the one who came to us as the poor homeless child of Belen will come again as the triumphant Lord of all creation.

Advent is thus a period that looks back and recalls the historical longing for the coming of Christ and the event of his birth. Advent also looks with faith to the future, to Christ's return and glory. During the four weeks of Advent, we remember God's actions throughout human history that prepared for the coming of the Savior and look forward to the stories being completed with the Savior's return.

The presence of God in Advent

Advent is one of our favorite times of the year. Its music, its colors, its minor and somber hues, its sights, sounds and smells have great evocative power. Although not all of God's promises have yet been fulfilled in this Advent season, we have a heartfelt conviction that, even in the experience of incompleteness, God's great promises will be fulfilled.

Moreover, it is a time full of sure signs and confident hope that Christmas will come; and with Christmas the promise of God will be born among us. In all the years of our life that hope has never been disappointed. Christmas has always come.

Now is the time to decide to act according to our faith and to play our part in Jesus' mission for the sake of the world. United with Jesus, we are God's instruments to bring the peace and joy of God's Kingdom to all whose lives we touch.

Now is the time to recognize that it is not we who wait for God to act. It is God who is waiting for us to let Him act. Let us not wait a moment longer.

The authorDamian O'Connell

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