Signposts: Daily Devotions

Monday, December 1

"I will appoint a time," says God.
—Psalm 75:2a

Thanksgiving is over and now Christmas is in full swing around us. We're already full of the holiday cheer or the mad rush. But there's something else that merits remembering—we just started Advent.

Advent, the season before Christmas, is supposed to be something different, something less driven by the marketplace and more driven by the soul. Once again the infinite wisdom of the Church Mothers and Fathers comes calling in the Christian calendar. The feast of Christmas, fixed on December 25th, has four Sundays prior to mark Advent, creating a time to reflect upon the incarnation of God—human in the divine and divine in the human.

These are days devoted to God and are not connected to society's ways. We're to use this time of quiet introspection to ponder more than a surface reflection of God's love for us. Unfortunately, we usually fail. We get wrapped in the world's holiday celebration, and the Church's reminder to pause and turn inward falls on deaf ears.

Celebrating the feast before the feast wasn't a problem until the last 50 years or so.(I doubt seriously that the basilica markets started selling Christmas stockings in October and that Constantine asked the bishops to put an end to it by creating the season of Advent.) 

Yet even as they become more difficult to observe, the wisdom of having days of waiting speaks to any age, time and people.

God, you wait upon me each day, hoping that I will stop to listen, stop to think, stop to rest in you; show me the gift of today, and through it, the gift of time to be with you that I might become less of what I have made and more of the person you created me to be. Amen.