Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Advent of Advent

The radio station was STILL talking about the election, and so I began flipping through the stations looking for something more relaxing, when much to my surprise (but I shouldn’t have been), I heard the beautiful, relaxing sounds of --- Christmas music. One station can’t get over re-hashing the election of two weeks ago, and the other can’t wait to anticipate a holiday eight weeks from now. All in all, I liked the Christmas station better.

Radio station WNIC in Detroit began broadcasting an all-Christmas menu of music starting on November 1. It seems a might early, but if I had known it was there, I could have avoided many hours of election commercials. Talk about bliss! And besides, who wouldn’t want to hear again such wonderful and holy Christmas hymns as I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas, or that sentimental one, Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer. They bring such peace into my heart.

Oh, not all is peaceful, I know, in anticipation of Christmas. I received my first Christmas card yesterday, a nice sentimental card, with thoughtful and kind words --- from my bank. (They promised me a present --- they’ll be issuing a dividend this year!) The card was a thoughtful reminder to me ---- I better get out to the local Hallmark store and buy cards. While sitting here with mom over the Thanksgiving weekend, I can be addressing them early this year (I hope my friends won’t get a heart attack from receiving them BEFORE Christmas this year), and maybe even write a Christmas note. God has been so good to me, and Thanksgiving weekend seems like an appropriate time to say it to all.

And then there are of course the Christmas presents to plan for. I’ve simplified things over the years, buying for fewer people, in part because some have gone on to receive their eternal presents (much better than anything I ever gave them), and others who agreed with me that we each had way too many useless toys already. But I will spend some time, perhaps next week, thinking on the books I read this year, and the one or two I believe would most be beneficial (and perhaps even be enjoyed) by select friends. The order needs to be placed at the Catholic book store in time for Pam to get them in for me, and for me to mail them to (hopefully) interested friends.

I asked Mxxx, the man I employ for jobs around the house, to put up the outside Christmas lights this weekend. It’s a nasty job I’ve grown to dislike over the years, largely because of the seemingly never-ending one-light-is-burned-out-and-the-whole-string-is-black syndrome, a disease which infects all strings of holiday lights. It’s especially frustrating when they test ok, but after hanging them I find a strand or two which won’t light. Arrrrrggggghhhhhh! I get angry just thinking about it. Oh well, that’s Mxxx’s problem this year, although I guess I feel a bit funny, paying him to get angry for me. Somehow that doesn’t seem right.

And then there’s the decorations for in the house. Sometimes a pain to put up, but I lighten the mood by putting on Christmas music as I work. Even if I start out a bit grumpy, I always find myself smiling by the end. I love the tree and the candles and the smells of Christmas. Perhaps that’s why I tend to leave the decorations up for three months or so ---- but perhaps you know the real reason. Oh well, please think pleasant Christmas thoughts of me, and my laziness.

And of course these thoughts of planning for Christmas would not be complete without some thought of planning for Advent, in the advent of Advent. The Advent candles on the kitchen table, to be lit while reading prayers each day, is an obvious task, but Advent is a time of preparation for our hearts, to plan to see and appreciate the great gift given to us at Christmas. It is something which is really beyond our understanding, a God becoming man – a thing strange in itself, but the reason: for me! is almost beyond belief, and in fact it is. I’ll never understand it, but I can spend time thinking on it, and learning to give thanks for it. I’ll select some books for reading, uniquely during Advent. Certainly Fr. Groeschel’s Advent meditations will be on the list; no matter how many years read, it is always new to me.

I wish you much calm and peace in these coming days. They can seem so hectic, but they don’t have to be. And remember what we’re celebrating, and what the present really was.


  1. "...a preparation for our hearts..." That is so true, and a nice way to look at it. As with the birth of Jesus, and with his death, to think deeply about it is to wrap one's mind around the unwrap-able. I see why these two events in His life are contemplated as much as they are.
    And poor Mr. Mxxx...(HA!) thanks for the post.
    uummm, Christmas music, good idea. k

  2. Very clever and enjoyable post!

  3. Laughing? Clever and enjoyable? But surely all these posts are about making the reader less anxious, right?

    "Laughter lightens the heart", I don't remember who said it, but it does relieve anxiety --- or at least make us forget it. Same difference. If you smiled for even a second, I can count this post a success.

    That's one.