Seminarian Reflection: Advent and Expectation

Advent is a special time in our liturgical calendar that is supposed to draw us into the mystery of the coming of the Lord by filling us with a sense of expectation and anticipation. The season of Advent reminds us of the world’s longing for the messiah. The somber expectation of Advent helps us to better understand the joys of Christmas.

When I imagine the expectant joy that should be experienced during the season of Advent, I always remember the excitement that I had as a child when on Christmas Eve, the gifts would begin to appear under my family’s Christmas tree. I remember laying in bed, unable to sleep thinking about what I had waiting for me under the tree.  At the first light of day, my twin brother and I would spring out of bed and rush downstairs for the opening of gifts. The childish and simple way I looked forward to the material aspect of the holiday reminds me now of the way I should look towards the spiritual reality of Advent and Christmas. Advent should be something that excites the heart to one of the greatest mysteries that has ever taken place: God becoming man. It is an important time that gives life to the joyous experience of the Christmas season.

In many ways, our celebration of Advent can be overshadowed by the various social and family obligations that come with the holiday season. Instead of peaceful remembrance of the work of God that lead up to the nativity, we can easily get lost in an avalanche of tasks that must be completed in order to have the perfect Christmas. Advent can be lost in the excitement of the season or even replaced with the material side of our holiday experience.  Advent needs to be more than a mad dash to the Christmas feast. Advent needs to be more than violet vestments and wreaths. It needs to be a spiritual awakening to the coming of Christ at a historical point in time and an awakening to the coming of Christ in our own hearts and minds.

For me as a seminarian, Advent also means the close of the semester and all of the stress that comes with final exams, papers and projects. I found myself so busy with the completion of the semester that my own season of Advent was quickly eaten up.  This season, I have resolved to do more to be focused on the “reason for the season” and spend more time in prayer. In order to keep Advent in my heart during the close of this academic semester, I am resolving to spend more time in expectation of the Christmas season and less time in preparation.

Kevin Mues is a seminarian for the Diocese of Shreveport in second year pre-theology at St. Joseph Seminary in St. Benedict, LA.

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