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Father Muench Says...

Advent: a time to celebrate... waiting

Dec. 18, 2013

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

This is a family time of the year – a very special time – everyone is thinking about Christmas.  The Church calls these weeks before Christmas – Advent.  Advent is about being family.  The spirituality of Advent is a time of prayer and preparation for Christmas, a time for families to draw ever closer together.

Advent is about “waiting.”  Scripturally, the time of Advent reminds us of the centuries that the Hebrew people waited for the coming of the Messiah.

For us, Christians, during Advent, we celebrate and remember the weeks of preparation as Mary prepared for birth.  She was soon to be a mother – the Mother of Jesus – we believe in her as the Mother of God. 

The waiting of Advent is a family event, a joyous and happy time; soon we will celebrate the birth of a child.

As a priest, I have been with many families preparing for the birth of a child – families celebrating a new member for their family.

I want to tell you of a time that I was a bit more involved in waiting.  Susan and Paul had invited me to be with them at the birth of their second child.  I must admit – I was excited – I simply couldn’t wait. 

The days until William’s birth were rather anxious for me. Each morning, I wondered, is this going to be the day.  My relationship with that young family became rather close – each day I checked in with them. 

I prayed often for this, yet, unborn child. We had already a new relationship – I was going to be with him when he entered the world.  I wanted only the best for him.  This was a real Advent experience.

Advent is a time for each family to celebrate their times of waiting, their experiences of waiting for the birth of their children. Each family has had such times. 

Jesus consecrated this time of waiting, the time of pregnancy and birth – he, himself, went through this very experience.

So, we wait.  Each year, we wait during Advent so that we can again unite ourselves with the Savior.  Each Christmas, we celebrate Jesus coming to our world – coming to each of us.  So, what is it that makes waiting possible?  The answer is trust.

Trust that the Lord really is our Savior that he really has come to us, that he really will come to me.  Trust that he lived for us and died for us and has risen for us, and that he will come again out of love.

Keeping watch means not only being physically awake.  It means having that kind of alertness that we have when we are waiting for someone we truly love, someone we truly need.

It is not easy to live like that – to have that alertness that sees glimpses of God everywhere.

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