Most Wonderful Time of the Year – 2017

Its the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Just saying the words can cause my mind’s ear to intone the thrilling orchestral sweep of the famous carol currently being played ad infinitem everywhere you go. I think that I had already heard the carol played 15 times before the month of December even started. At this time of the year, Christmas carols are ubiquitous.

Right now however, the constant echo of carols causes in me a rather counter-cultural dissatisfaction that may or not make sense to some of you. The debate started in early November with people saying “Is it too early to play Christmas Music?” Not only was I in the camp that thought it was too early, I still think it’s too early. I’m often in the corner in a chortled tone saying “Christmas carols are for Christmas which starts on December 25!”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to be a humbug. This is one of those areas where I am quite comfortable being the lone voice in the conversation and I rarely have anyone agree with me but that’s OK. I love this time of the year. It is a great time! But I also recognize that the way I see this time of the year is different than the rest of the world, especially the secular world.

I see the most wonderful time of the year as the season of Advent. When I hear songs like “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas…” I want to shout out “Wait!” Because that is what we are invited to do right now in the life of the Church. We are invited to wait. To immerse ourselves in the practice of patient preparation. We’re invited to enter into the experience of what it is like to joyfully hope for something. That is the power of the season of Advent. We are asked to prepare. Expect. Anticipate. We are not invited to a season of burnout.

Despite my advocacy for Yuletide canticle postponement, I am quite comfortable that carols are played and sung and celebrated with vigor. What I am not comfortable relenting is the invitation to experience Advent. Year after year I have friends who get to the end of the December and decry “Enough already! I can’t handle this cheesy crass commercial travesty of all that is dear to God.” Year after year, I find people who are burned out on Christmas before it has the chance to touch their heart. I am concerned that we get ourselves trapped in the hustle and bustle of Christmas and not its meaning.

Thankfully, I know of a medicine to this ailment. It isn’t to tune out Christmas carols, it is to make room in your heart for the coming of Christmas. This year, Saint Andrew has a rather unique opportunity to do that. To take time out of the week and join us at the Advent Speaker Series on Wednesday nights from 7 to 8pm in the Church. It is a chance for adults and children to take some time to prepare for the coming of Christ by literally preparing a manger set for your home.

We’re going to take each week and look at the figures that are found in the nativity scene, the angels, the shepherds, the kings, and the Holy Family. With these weekly reflections, each family will get a piece of a small crèche set to take home and keep as a reflection on the true meaning of the season. It’s a little way to remind us that this really is the most wonderful time of the year. It isn’t about a white Christmases or brown-paper packages tied up with string, or even the most stunning Christmas tree you can imagine. It is about Jesus. And we get 3 weeks (and a couple hours) to really contemplate that gift, relish in its significance, and then sing out with joy.
I look forward to seeing you at one or more of the speaker series! Have a blessed Advent!

-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate

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