November 28, 2021

1st Sunday of Advent

The First Sunday of Advent can be a little jarring. Culturally we have just celebrated Thanksgiving, and many people like to use this weekend to put up their Christmas tree and start enjoying the spirit of the season. It marks the beginning of “The most wonderful time of the year,” as Andy Williams might sing. Liturgically, however, the readings look to the end of time when Christ will return and add a sense of grave watchfulness. This can create a little “cognitive dissonance” because we’re beginning to decorate for the celebration of Jesus’ birth, but we’re hearing instead about Christ’s return at the end of time. A few lines from today’s reading from Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians might help bridge the gap.

Now it should be acknowledged that Saint Paul prefers commas to periods when it comes to punctuation, resulting in very long sentences. But let’s just take his opening idea, “Brothers and sisters: May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all….” This is a good message to incorporate into our lives no matter what the season! Christmas is a time to show our love for family, friends, neighbors, and humanity. But that’s not limited to Christmas! When Christ returns, the hope is that we will have lived our whole lives in that manner. Or, as Ella Fitzgerald sang so beautifully in The Secret of Christmas, “So may I suggest, the secret of Christmas. It’s not the things you do at Christmas time, but the Christmas things you do, all year through.” So, keep that love, joy, and generosity of spirit ever-present in your heart, and enjoy this season.

Let Us Pray:

Gracious God, we thank you for your many gifts. Please send your Spirit upon us to help us be loving, in this season and always. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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About John Christman, SSS

John Christman, SSS is a member of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament and the former editor of Emmanuel. He is an artist, musician and frequently writes on the topic of theology and the arts.