Each year it seems to get more and more difficult to celebrate Advent. The din of Christmas jingles and jangles in the shops, the ever earlier anticipated ‘Christmas Dinners’ and parties, and the frenetic shopping sprees exclude the message the Church is trying to deliver. Even in our schools the season of Advent can become just a few weeks preparation for carol concerts, nativity plays, and the making of festive decorations.
All this is a pity to say the least because we will never properly understand, appreciate, or enjoy Christmas if we are not prepared to give the Advent message a hearing. Before we can feast we have to fast so that our hearts can be open to our Saviour and his good news. And one of the often overlooked but essential parts of that good news is that Jesus will return. The first few weeks of Advent speak of that Second Coming without which our celebration of the first coming would have no meaning. The birth of the baby Jesus is only significant if the triumphant Christ will come again in glory.
So over the next few weeks let’s try to take some time to listen to the message of the Liturgy during this season of Advent. Our children will be bombarded by the commercial Christmas hype what they will not hear from any other quarter is the message of the gospel: that this tiny child is the Son of God and that one day he will return in power and glory to establish God’s Kingdom for ever.