Time for an “Awe-full” Advent

As part of a school Christmas pageant, some first-graders reenacted the nativity story. Mary and Joseph, weary after their journey, sat by the manger and closed their eyes. The lights went out. When they came back on, Joseph woke up, looked in the manger and said, “Mary, wake up! Wake up! Look who you had!”

As we all know, children get so excited at this time of year. Every sight, sound, and smell of the season is a wonder, and they are so full of anticipation that time seems to stand still; every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas seems like an eternity.

But we also know that as we grow older the same time seems to fly. So many things occupy our minds; there are gifts to buy, parties to plan, places to go, people to see. Before we know it, Christmas is upon us and the only wonder that remains is where the time has gone.

St. Gregory the Great once said that we make idols of our concepts, but wisdom is born of wonder. Every hint of wonder, every shred of joy in that little voice who cried, “Wake up! Look who you had!” is a reminder that any concept of Advent is an idol if it does not lead us more deeply to the wonder of Christ, who is Wisdom.

It’s true that we are not children, time cannot stand still, and there are things during Advent that must be done. But it’s also true that Christ confers his Kingdom on those who trust like children, that time is what we make of it, and that our busyness is nothing but spiritual slumber when we yield to the temptation to put things before people, even ourself, and above all before our love of God, who loved us so much that he would take our flesh only to lay it down that we might live.

Wake up! Wake up! Look who you have!

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