Franciscan Moments @Saint Miriam: December 3, 2018


For me, especially during the early winter, the earth seems to be dying. As I walk around our campus, the once beautifully green and lush foliage now finds trees that have lost their bounty; the grass has withered and brought the mowers to a standstill. The beauty of colored flowers have given way to the emergence of the only things that stand to retain their hue: the evergreen. The wind has increased from its more northerly direction and frost appears daily upon the cars in our parking lot. Even the sunlight is less, the darkness more and the nights seem longer, deeper, darker, and sometimes more foreboding. In just a few weeks, we will come to the Winter Solstice, the longest day of the year, with the year’s least amount of daylight. Symbols not to be lost or overlooked. These changes remind me of the impermanence of this world and that I need to always focus on something greater that will always be present, always sustaining, always giving, always feeding. It is during this time of year; this very specific time of year that God has deemed to grant us the wonderful opportunity called Advent.

A few years ago, I don’t remember where, I found a short video posted online. It was called something like, “The Advent Conspiracy.” It was a grassroots movement that was started by a few Christian churches to bring some sanity back to the season we now find ourselves within. It hoped to bring more worship and less consumerism to Christmas, to “give presence.” Its four principles were rather simple, ‘Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More and Love All.’  I wonder what would happen if we all made a concerted effort to just that this season; if only for a month?

This gloriously simple season is a time to be challenged as a world, as a people, as Christians, and as practicing Catholics, but more importantly, inside ourselveswhere God most certainly dwells and where the tensions of the world seem to be at their strongest. We are called to pause and reflect on what needs to be changed in the world and deep within ourselves. What is broken, damaged, in need of repair, and Whodo we want to help effectuate those repairs? Are we willing to allow the change to even happen?

St. Francis once said, “Let us begin again, for until now we have done nothing.”  He knew that conversion was never found in a singular moment, but rather is a continuous, lifelong journey. So then, Advent is our season and our chance to change and to become better people, but to do we must focus on others and on God, and just for the briefest of time in the grand scheme of things, let go of our own selfish needs.

Will you help me save Advent this year?  Will you allow Advent to change you for the better?  What will January look and feel like with a you that is less focused on self, and more on others?

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