Dec 5, 2016
Throughout the past weekend (Thanksgiving holiday) I was amused by the many cars driving up and down Lake Drive with a Christmas tree tied onto the roof of the car. It reminded me of days long ago when the deer hunters would wrap their trophy buck either on the front or back of the car as a sign of the hunt's success. I miss those days, but I think the Christmas trees make a good replacement. We are in the holiday season and I suspect many homes are already beautifully decorated. It enhances the preparations for the Feast of Christmas I think. I know there are the purists out there who don't think we should be doing anything for Christmas until Christmas Eve night. They will say:"It isn't Christmas yet!" I tend to differ with them that this special period of time where we gather with family and friends; we buy presents and fuss over the decoration; we think beyond ourselves and wish good for the world; something is different right now. It often feels to me that we come to the completion of Christmas all too abruptly with New Year's Day and then we get on with the tasks of daily life.
There is only one observance of Christmas I won't do until Christmas day. I won't listen to Christmas music unless I am forced to at the shopping centers. I enjoy listening and singing the Advent hymns of this season of preparation. They put me in touch with the longing my soul has for the day when I will be with Christ forever in His Kingdom. They remind me that I am still on a journey and with eagerness I sing: "O Come, O Come Emmanuel". My life here is not entirely fulfilled and certainly the justice in the world promised by the prophets has not yet unfolded. There are too many of our brothers and sisters in this world who suffer in poverty and oppression. We are promised that one day it will all be completed and we will "beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks and no nation shall raise the sword against another" (Is 2:4).
It is okay to long for something better than what we have now. In fact, the season of Advent is a month-long encouragement to consider what you are longing for. There is, of course, the personal longings of happiness and love, but I would encourage you especially as the News programs have developed a "breaking news" style to consider how deeply you are longing for peace, happiness and security for everyone in the world, not just for those here at home, but those who live so very far away that it seems impossible for us to reach them. We cannot, but God can! Let that longing become a prayer asking God to hear the prayer of your longing and let the Holy Spirit carry it to Our Father in heaven.