Wednesday November 20, 2019
7:46 am

Gaudete Sunday calls us to prepare for the great joy to come

      “Anticipation, anticipation…is keepin' me waitin'” This point in Advent always reminds me of those lyrics from a popular song by Carly Simon.

      Young or old, did you ever experience this? You’re waiting for something really great to happen, in this case Christmas. You see the decorations go up, the lights turned on. Christmas music plays on the radio; Salvation Army bells can be heard on the streets. Brightly wrapped Christmas presents start to pile up under the tree.

      If we’re children, the wait becomes almost unbearable. If we’re adults, time is passing by far too quickly; there’s too much to do and too little time to do it.

      And then, Christmas is here. Twenty-four hours come and gone and what do we have to show for it besides a pile of empty boxes, a frig full of leftovers and a sink of pots and pans and dishes screaming “wash me!” It’s what a friend always calls the great let-down. No matter how well we think we’ve prepared, it just never seems like it’s been enough.

      When it comes to Christmas, the coming of our savior, it shouldn’t be that way, you know. That’s why the Church has given us the season of Advent – a time to prepare for what really matters.

      Come on, you say, I can’t prepare for one more thing this time of year. When can I possible find time at this time of year to reflect on God and the state of my spiritual life? Seriously, it’s hard enough to find a leftover minute to pray during the normal course of the year.

      If that’s our mindset, then we’re missing the whole point of Christmas. I recall someone once asking that if Christ was born centuries ago, what is it exactly that we’re preparing for in Advent? How do we prepare for a commemoration?

      Yes, Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of our Lord, our Savior, but it’s also a time to remember that yes, Jesus will come again. Joy in the birth; joy in the fact that our Jesus hasn’t given up on us.  The work of salvation continues. Jesus is still with us and will follow through, coming again, as promised.

      Advent reminds us that there’s still time for us to get ready. Do we really want to get caught flat-footed? Does our gracious and generous God really only merit the leftover crumb of our time? How hard should it be to carve time out of the abundance of our day to sit engaged in God’s presence for a few minutes?

      I wasn’t there when Jesus was born but I sure want to be ready when he comes again. How about you? This is what Advent allows us to do. Prepare! And the preparation should be with rejoicing in our hearts, as Gaudete Sunday calls us to do.

      God rejoices, you know. He continues to sing in gladness over his creation.

      “Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully O Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart…The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; he will rejoice over you with gladness and renew you in his love, he will sing joyfully because of you…” (Zep 3:14-18a)

      God sings joyfully because of me! How can that not lift our spirits; make us laugh in gladness and make us smile in joy? How can we not want to make time to spend time with our God a priority? Jesus was here once; he will come again. However, he never truly left; God is here in each and every one of us. What can we do, especially in these last two weeks of Advent, to make him most welcome?

      December 26 doesn’t need to dawn with that usual post-holiday let-down. God is still rejoicing in us and he continues to sing his song of love. This is what we should be preparing for. And guess what? God promises it won’t be anti-climactic.

     

     Debbie Bosak is the editor and general manager of Northwest Indiana Catholic Publications and a member of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Merrillville. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Join The Flock

Flock Note