Tonight with the teens, we discussed chastity. The theme of the night was Gift - the gift of ourselves, to God or our spouse. And it tied in so perfectly, on this first Sunday of Advent, when so much of the world is thinking about gifts!
Encouraging my 5th grade CCD class this morning to hold off on celebrating Christmas, I felt a bit like Scrooge. I explained to them some traditions Mr. Oram and I do, and they were aghast. Where is the Christmas tree? Where are the cookies, the music, the lights? Where is the full nativity? How could I prevent Zuzu all the fun of a real old-fashioned secular Christmas season??
But these two themes - Advent prep and gifts - got me thinking about what is really worth waiting for. When we know something is going to be reeeally good if we wait, we're willing to wait. It's only events or matters of little consequence that we just want to 'get it over with.' We wait and plan our weddings, wait and plan big parties or date nights - we agonize over what to wear, the food, the guest list. We'd be insulted if someone said we should just wear our wedding dress around town before the wedding, because it's so pretty and fun - um, excuse me, this is for something SPECIAL, we'd say, and besides it's not really appropriate if it's not my actual wedding.
I am so glad it was my liturgically-correct husband that insisted we not listen to Christmas music. At first I grumbled, just like my 5th graders, but now - oh now. Now I'm excited. Christmas gets to be special again - instead of the apex of a near-frenzied season of shopping-wrapping-baking-rushing-exhaustion, I can prepare little by little, focusing on my heart, and then let all of that interior preparation burst forth into the Christmas season! Christ's birth is worth waiting for - it is worth it not to cheat the Incarnation out of it's significance.
This year, as Mr. Oram and I sat down and brain-stormed, I realized what a blessed way this is to celebrate the season. We can buy our tree in Advent, but will wait to decorate it until Christmas Even or even Christmas Day (although we may have lights on it beforehand...I do adore that twinkly light glow!). We will light our Advent wreath and say our prayers. I have decided to veil every Sunday (instead of sporadically, whenever I can find my veil) this Advent, and bought a new veil especially. We began and will finish consecrating ourselves to the Blessed Virgin, using a new way that is certainly easier on us as parents, although I'm not sure that I prefer it yet.
And then, when Christmas comes, I will do all the other things: I will bake, deck the halls with bows of holly, play Christmas music, put a baby Jesus on every thing in the world, and get the tree all gussied up. I'll be able to bask in the light of Christ's coming: we will be on a break from CCD and youth group, my family will come up, Mr. Oram's work load will momentarily slacken. We will celebrate Christmas - not a moment too soon.
To be honest, I need this time of preparation. I'm not ready yet for Christ; my heart has been wearied these past few months. I need time to ready my heart and soul for the Christ-child. I am grateful that the Church in her wisdom has preserved this season for me, that I can come to Christmas Mass rejoicing and rested, instead of frazzled and on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
I hope everyone's Advent is off to a roaring start. And if you need ideas, I very highly recommend checking out Catholic Icing's ebook Advent Christmas Planner. It is exactly what I need to figure out what to do with these four weeks, and I really hope she puts together an ebook for each liturgical season!
*None of these links are affiliate; just for fun. :)