I am not a patient person. It just doesn’t come to me naturally. I’m a true millennial, raised in a world of instant gratification, and I don’t like having to wait. As a child, I always had an Advent calendar, and being forced to eat only one little chocolate square per day was torture!
And yet there is wisdom in waiting. Advent chocolate was a special treat specifically because it involved patience and baby steps – if I’d eaten all 24 pieces at once, it would just have been a big chocolate bar, here and then gone. Instead, it left an impact on me because it was slow and deliberate. Advent calendars were a special treat because of the waiting involved.
Even now, as an adult, Advent leaves me impatient. It’s hard not to be excited for Christmas – time with family and friends, good food and good wine, presents galore. Without thinking, I sometimes find myself wishing for Advent to speed by. But like the little pieces of chocolate behind each window in my Advent calendar, each day and week of Advent brings a little piece of joy that should be celebrated.
I’ve come to value Advent as a time of spiritual renewal. The holidays are a hectic time of year, with shopping to do, lots on my plate at work, loved ones traveling. It’s easy to get caught up in the details – my budget for this gift, my coffee date with that person. Advent is an opportunity to slow down and focus on the One worth waiting for, the One whose birth is the reason this is a time of celebration.
As a kid, once I ate one of my chocolates, there was nothing to do for the next 24 hours except wait passively. But Advent is a different kind of waiting, an active waiting. We wait for Jesus by spending more time in prayer, by receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation, by giving generously to those in need. Waiting for Jesus is never sitting around, twiddling our thumbs – it’s spending more time with Him and living out His calling for us.
The miracle of Christmas – God the Father sending His only Son, divinity taking on flesh, all out of unconditional, overwhelming love for us – is one that needs preparation. Amid the busyness of December, set aside time to prepare your heart for the arrival of Jesus. If, like me, patience is not your strength, then filling your Advent with active waiting will help much more than chocolate rations!
By Jenna LeBlanc, Sponsor Representative & International Department Administrator