In between buying a Thanksgiving turkey and hearing the nonstop Christmas music already invading the airwaves, Advent is quietly creeping up on us. It comes so quietly that it can get lost in the noise of the season. I’m a person who loves the noise of the season—the music, the decorations, the parties, the memories, the presents (especially the presents!). But a part of me longs for Advent, for the quiet reflection, the peace, the hope of a savior.
In recent years Advent has become my favorite liturgical season. The Scripture readings and prayers that the Church sets forth are full of the sweetness of hope and peace. The simple light of the Advent candles reminds me of the true light that has come into the world. More than any other season, Advent invites us to be at peace because of the wonderful plan God has for us—for the world, for the Church, and for each of us. Advent is a quiet season, in stark contrast to the frenzy of the world’s preparations for Christmas.
Maybe because of the volume of the secular preparation for Christmas, I find that Advent fills a deep need in me. It grounds me and reminds me of the hope I have in Christ. Thank God for Advent!
This year I plan to observe Advent by reading a new book by Fr. Gary Caster, The Little Way of Advent: Meditations in the Spirit of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. (Fr. Caster wrote a similar book of meditations for Lent, which I read earlier this year.) Reading The Little Way of Lent made me hungry for more. His writing helped me to see things I hadn’t seen before and profound truths seemed to open up to me in new ways. They were easy to read, but they had a deep effect on me. The emphasis on thought taken from St. Thérèse of Lisieux was an added bonus.
One thing I appreciate is that the book begins with Advent and continues throughout the Christmas season. Advent is meant to lead us up to the great feast of Christmas, and then we continue in the celebration for several weeks, with several special feasts embedded within the whole season. I confess to feeling a little gypped with books that end on Christmas Day. At that point we’re just getting to the good stuff!
Advent begins on Sunday, December 2nd. At about the time you’re reheating the leftover turkey and mashed potatoes, it will be time to think of how you will observe the holy season of Advent. Will you join me on the spiritual adventure of The Little Way of Advent?