Endings and Beginnings
Read time: 3.5 minutes
In the Christian Church, we are nearing the end of the liturgical year. This Year Advent, the first season in the new liturgical year, begins on the first weekend of December. Now is the ideal time to think of what things we might bring to an end, and leave behind, in the old year. What habits, distractions, obsessions and yearnings should we leave behind as we anticipate the good things that the Advent of Christ’s incarnation will bring to us, if we let it?
Our Catholic Church teaches that God loves us and is always calling us to Him. St. Augustine famously said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” This call makes us restless, never satisfied, always looking for something to fill the yearning we feel. To quell the yearning people often try to distract themselves with material things, activities, and other interests. Over time such distractions can become bad habits and obsessions which take over our lives.
Advent is a time when we anticipate the gifts and blessings of the Incarnation. We know that all good gifts come from God, and Jesus is the greatest gift; God became human to show us a better way to live, to bring us back into right relationship with God, the Father, and the Holy Spirit. Redemption is part of that process, as well. Good news, indeed. But, can we truly experience these gifts if we are continually distracted by whatever obsession is currently our main focus. What could we leave behind to focus on Jesus in this new year?
As the year comes to an end, I have been learning to give up obsessive watching of the news, which always fills me with worry and dread. I want to give up worrying about getting old, realizing there is nothing I can do to avoid it. I want to leave behind worry about the health and finances of my wife and me, as we enter our senior years. There are many things over which we have no control.
Instead, I focus on the love and grace of God, praying for the strength to endure that which is to come. I have faith that God will make all things right. Though I don’t know what that means in reality, I trust all will be well. The Incarnation is proof that God loves us, and whether I am here on Earth, or with God, all will be well. So, what are you planning to leave behind, as we enter the season of gifts of the Incarnation?