Dear Member of the De La Salle Community:
It is probably true that Christmas still represents the most anticipated feast or holiday on the calendar. It is also true, I think, that once the school term begins in September that we are increasingly engulfed by one holiday or another that we practically slide into Christmas before we even know it. Labour Day has barely disappeared and we are into Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is now a mere prelude to the national feast of Hallowe’en. Hallowe’en articles are moved off the shelves to make way for Christmas decorations even before we push Santa Claus down University Avenue. These days we even seem to embrace some aspects of American Thanksgiving in order to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
How do we begin to settle down and prepare for the birth of Jesus Christ amidst such frenzy?
The Church in Her Wisdom does give us some time to wait, listen and prepare. It is called Advent. This liturgical season is very much under-rated and, I believe, needs to be better understood and practised. Advent is not meant to be a “downer.” The intention of the four weeks we are supposed to spend observing this season leads us to the great feast of the Nativity of Jesus Christ, our Saviour. It doesn’t entail putting a damper on festivities but rather to provide some real focus on the event we are supposed to be celebrating on Christmas – the recalling of the Birth of Our Saviour.
Easter, of course, is the most significant feast for Christians, but the earliest followers of the Messiah decided that his birth held much significance as well. As we know, the setting of the date for Christ’s birthdate was linked to Roman customs and most likely doesn’t align with the actual date of the Holy Child born in Bethlehem. The point the early Church wanted to emphasize was the Incarnation – God becoming man and dwelling with us here in time and space. This is something we recall or should recall at all times. Our Lasallian tradition helps us in this regard by remembering as frequently as possible that we live always and everywhere in the presence of God.
So we are to continue to prepare and wait for Him whom kings and prophets longed to see and saw not. How blessed are we who truly seek Him and bid Him dwell in our hearts.
Brother Domenic, fsc