Advent is the season of waiting; waiting to commemorate Christ’s coming at Christmas. However, this year seems to have been a year of trying to “keep up” with little time to enjoy the pleasures of “waiting” and the dreaming and contemplation that are its luxuries.

Before we know it the trading stores will have convinced us that Christmas is all about helping them to improve trading figures so that in the aftermath they can tell us that it was a good Christmas. What a distraction to the real essence of this important Season.

Of course, there can be distractions of another kind when Christmas becomes very much focused on the “me”. “Me” being part of a community celebration takes a back seat. This can be exemplified by the small boy who dearly wanted to be Joseph in the Nativity play, but all his pleadings fell on deaf ears, alas, he became the innkeeper. 

When the time came for Mary and Joseph to approach the inn and seek entry, Mary was received most graciously by the innkeeper. However, when Joseph tried to follow Mary into the inn, much to the astonishment of the mums and dads in the audience, Joseph received a push backwards from the innkeeper who declared, “You’re not coming in, I wanted to play Joseph and you took my part so clear out!”

It's somewhat easy to forgive children for having this egocentric attitude towards life and missing out on the “big picture”. Hence, the importance of good modelling from parents and other significant adults so that the real values of important events are not lost. Hopefully, we will create a home atmosphere that downgrades the material aspects of Christmas, embraces the true spirit and meaning of this season and allows Christ to take centre stage.

The presence of the Jesse Tree and more importantly the Advent Wreath prepare us for the great celebrations of Christmas. Its candles remind us that Jesus is the light of the world and that his coming brought new hope to the people. As Christians, we believe that Jesus has come into our world bringing the Good News of the Father’s love.  He continues to come into our lives, inviting us to live in this way.

Best Wishes for a peace-filled Christmas enriched by the Infant Jesus as we commemorate his coming over the next couple of weeks.

“Lord, over the next couple of weeks I might have to make some difficult decisions, so that You are the focus for our children. Please be with me to be my guide and my support.”

Peace and Best Wishes

Dr Michael Slattery Image
Dr Michael Slattery

Dr Michael Slattery is the Director of Catholic Schools, Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.