I have to constantly remind myself that we are still in the season of Advent and that the Christmas Season does not start until the 24th of December. Yesterday did not help as I completed the decorations in the Church. We have now transformed our temple to be ready to welcome the Christ Child.
At the end of Great Vespers last night, I reminded the people present that Advent is a journey, a journey towards to the birth of the King of Kings. Advent is like climbing a mountain. I have never climbed a mountain before but I know it takes a slow steady pace to get to the top. You need to stop every so often so catch your breath and admire what is around you. This is hard to do in our material driven world and I believe that is why it is so important to slow down during this season and take a look at what is around you.
Christmas without Advent would be like Easter without Lent! I have tried to remind people what the reason for the season really is. It’s not just about giving gifts; it’s about giving the gift of love. Maybe this is the year you call your brother and repair that relationship. Maybe this is the year you call your son or daughter and tell them you are sorry. Or maybe, just maybe, this is the year you return to Church and repair your relationship with God!
Last night we were treated to a concert by the Mission Choir of St. Tikhon Orthodox Seminary in Pennsylvania. They took us on a journey of Orthodox liturgical music through the centuries and through the countries where our American Orthodoxy comes from. At the end they sang a few “songs of the season.” Christmas has been revealed to us, very slowly, during the services this Advent season. The journey has not ended; in fact it has just begun.
We are almost to the top of that mountain, we can see it from time to time as we turn a corner or two but we are not there yet. If we rush at this point we will be out of breath when we reach the top. Slow down and keep a steady pace and we will reach the top together and we will have breath left to worship the Christ Child.
Happy Advent and Happy Journey!