Advent 2016

First Friday in Advent - December 2th

Is 29: 17-24 // Ps 27: 1, 4, 13-14   // Mt 9: 27-31

I first heard the question on Halloween this year, “When is it acceptable to listen to Christmas music?” This is but the first week of our journey towards Christmas, but even as we brace for finals we find the images of Christmas encircle us.

It is by no coincidence that Isaiah, the Psalmist and Matthew all address sight today. Not mere sight is this, but awesome sight; the splendor that the blind experience upon first opening their eyes.  Isaiah exhorts us, “Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard, and the orchard be regarded as a forest!” In considering this image, we cannot help but consider how our surroundings change at Christmastime, how a sudden abundance overwhelms us. The season embraces us, overwhelming our senses and causes us to be restless until our longing is fulfilled.

There are two caveats today that relate to our journey in Advent. The first is that phrase, “but a very little while,” that begins our first reading. Every promise that follows hinges on this phrase that indicates patience. Even as we are eager to play the joyful music (even in October), even as we are impatient to set the Christmas table and bask in the blessings of the season, there is that “little while” that separates us from our fullest joy.  In the Gospel, before healing the blind men, Jesus asks, “Do you believe that I can do this?” The overabundance, the joy of Christmas does not come without reflection. In approaching Christmas, it is vital that we step away and look into ourselves.

This is a time of great blessing, but it is a time of hopeful waiting, as well. We are eager to play Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving, we are impatient for the Christmas meal, but these blessings come upon patient reflection.

Jonathan Mack