Faith During Advent

A spiritual teen age young lady, with a steady boyfriend and a very religious family announces to her parents that she is with child. When asked how this could have happened, she says that an angel approached her while she was praying and announced that she had found favor with God and that she has been chosen to bear God’s child. She accepted God’s invitation. Of course, when she tells her boyfriend, that she is carrying God’s child, he wonders how that could be. However, when she visits her older aunt, who is also with child, her cousin is in awe of the great privilege.

You can readily recognize the story of Mary, a teen age girl in a very conservative, patriarchal society. Her reward in society could have meant her death but she chose to have faith that God would not abandon her. How would you handle this situation in today’s culture? If you were the parents of a teen girl who announces her pregnancy with the father being an angel, could you handle the explanation? What if you were the parents of the boyfriend? What would the boyfriend do?

You must admit that the angel thing and the God’s will story and the boyfriend’s confusion would be difficult to handle. Social media might really take over. Can you imagine the stories that would circulate throughout the world? Ridicule by nonbelievers, sarcasm from friends and classmates, the world might think your entire family was crazy.

It is in that context that we can truly appreciate that faith of Mary. She believed and accepted the message of God. Her parents, somehow understood and did not condemn her for her condition. Her boyfriend was also convinced to accept her as his wife. They were all excited with the coming of this special child. As we say today, the advent of Christ.

So, as we prepare for this special season, I offer a few thoughts on advent and ask how your faith supports you during this hectic time.

  • Are you ready for the celebration of the birth of the Christ child?

With all the shopping to do, cards to write, parties to attend, presents to wrap, and chaos of the holidays to attend to, have you considered how your faith is key to this holiday? What about the faith of your family? To appreciate this season, quiet time is necessary for each of us to renew our awareness of our faith and beliefs.

  • Do you believe in the Love of God as shown in the birth of His precious Son?

The understanding of this special event in the history of the world sometimes escapes us as we prepare for the chaos of the holiday. God’s love was demonstrated to us with the birth of his Son. That love is not always recognized as we live in a very complicated world with many different interests pulling us to the point of distraction.

  • Value your faith and trust in God.

Trust and faith are things one cannot earn. They are given to us from our parents, given through their sacrifice and hard work. We give them freely to our children and is important that we continue to instill in them the importance of God and His love.

  • Engage in the community of your belief.

If you were accused of being a Catholic would there be enough evidence to convict you? Are you one who goes to church on Sunday and says “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit” and for the remainder of the week “as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be”? Do they know you are a believer in Christ by the way you act, all the time? Is the community of church a special part of your life? Your spiritual strength comes from the community, not by how they act but rather how they reflect the goodness of Christ.

  • Now is when you prepare.

Christmas is a special day with special spiritual meaning. The time to prepare yourself is now. Take the time to explain to yourself and to those who do not know, what Christmas really means. We seldom take the time to prepare ourselves for the true miracle of Christmas.

  • Time to reflect on our relationship with God.

With all the hustle and bustle of the season, does God seem distant to you? As is often said, when God seems far away, remember that He has not moved. A special relationship with God must be maintained through constant communication (prayer), in a quiet place with a minimum of distractions. Take the time to find that place, renew your faith and understand the depth of meaning, when Mary said yes!