Advent Thoughts on the Threshold of an Advent Miracle

Each of us from time to time need a chance to start over.  Might the beginning of this new Liturgical Year B be one of these times?  Every day has the potential of starting a new habit or practice, or for renewing a relationship that already exists, but that has grown stale or conflicted.  What could use a fresh start in your life?

This season of Advent is a time of waiting, expectation and even longing, as we anticipate the celebration of our Lord’s birth at Christmas.  This practice of celebrating Jesus’ birth on December 25th was initiated by Pope Julius I around the year 350. It is commonly believed that the Church chose the 25th of December in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of pagan festivals, since the exact date of Jesus’ birth was unknown.

The Romans celebrated Saturnalia, a month-long holiday honoring Saturn, the god of agriculture; while others marked the birthday of Mithra, the god of the unconquerable sun, on December 25. Other European cultures already had festivals that marked the Winter Solstice, December 21, that anticipated the coming of longer days and the return of light.  The Church’s feast was first called “the Feast of the Nativity”. It celebrated Jesus, the “Light of the World”, come to banish the darkness and illuminate our lives with his radiant presence. By 432 December 25th had spread to Egypt, and to England by the end of the sixth century.

As we enter Advent this year, 2020, we recognize that we are living through a period of intense darkness associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.  While everyone hoped this sickness would be short-lived, it continues to be very much with us.

So we persevere, awaiting the hopeful news of the birth of Christ and a vaccine for all, realizing how dependent we are on the grace of God. This recognition might deepen our experience of hope, peace, joy, and love this Advent season, and light our way to a new beginning..

May God bless all of you in this holy season.  Stand fast! God’s love endures all.