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1st Sunday of Advent, December 1, 2019

This is a most wonderful time of the year.  I love what we call the “holiday season.”  But of course, when I say the “holiday season” I’m not only thinking of Thanksgiving and Christmas… Remember… I’m a pastor, and so I’m thinking of Thanksgiving, and the Feast of Christ the King, and Advent, and all that comes with it:

December 1st (First Sunday of Advent and the beginning of a New Year, liturgically speaking)

December 6th (Feast of St. Nicholas)

December 8th (Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the United States of America - transferred to December 9th this year because the 8th falls on a Sunday)

December 12th (Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas)

December 25th (Nativity of the Lord, aka Christmas)

December 29th (Feast of the Holy Family)

Add into this mix our regional celebrations for Simbang Gabi and Las Posadas (December 10-24)

And then there are all sorts of other dates at this time of the year:

December 1 (World Aids Day. Also National Pie Day/Rosa Parks Day)

December 2 (International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.  Also Cyber Monday, 2019)

December 3 (International Day of Persons with Disabilities.  Also National Day of Giving, 2019)

December 5 (International Volunteer Day)

December 7 (National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day)

December 10 (International Day for Human Rights)

December 18 (International Migrants Day)

December 22-30 (Hanukkah)

December 26 - January 1 (Kwanzaa)

Everyone has their own way of marking time and of celebrating different events in their calendars.  We have birthdays and anniversaries, and there are many different calendars that exist alongside our “Gregorian” calendar. 

As we begin our Church “New Year” with the Advent Season, I am reminded of the inexorable movement of time.  I am mindful that every time I begin mass, I do so usually noting time and its passing somehow… the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the First Sunday of Advent, etc.  It’s my way of consistently acknowledging a truth which we express every Easter when mark our Easter candle praying the words: “Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega, all time belongs to him, and all ages; to him be glory and power, through every age, for ever and ever. Amen.”

Entering into the Advent Season this year, it is good for us to intentionally remember that Jesus Christ is “before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Col 1:17).  It’s a time of year when we tell stories and make the time to be attentive to one another in ways that perhaps we don’t or can’t during the rest of the year.  Advent is a time when I don’t have to work very hard at being happy, despite the fact that it’s one of the busiest times of my year. Perhaps I’m happy precisely because I am mindful that “all time belongs to Him” and that “in Him all things hold together.”  I confess that my sense of hope is elevated, my sense of anticipation is sharpened, and I am happy to enter into the joys and celebrations of the world around me with its lights and songs and its many, many different celebrations of memory and storytelling. I find myself enjoying people more, and celebrating with them what is life-giving in their lives.  I am moved to reflect on my own life at this time of year, and to consider what is worthy of celebrating of my own very human experience.  With Isaiah and Matthew to guide us in this season, we can look forward to a wonderful anticipation of grace and blessing assuredly waiting to be born anew, to be enfleshed, to come into our world once more. 

“O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!”

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