As I told a friend of mine, I'm still trying to get the hang of this "Empty Nest" gig. Letting go is extremely hard for me; I'm a total control freak. But, I've really come to embrace "God's go this" over the past 4 weeks. Man, these weeks went by quickly! I get so dependent on the "special times" of the Liturgical Calendar that I don't want it to end. I've got to keep working at getting closer to God during "Ordinary Times".
I always thought the beginning of Matthew was one of (if not the) the most boring chapters in the Bible, with the list of genealogy. I've never understood why that was included until I read the reflections. Now I understand that it's to underscore that Jesus didn't just come from nothing...he has a family tree that is similar to just about everyone's on this planet. There are saints, and there are sinners; there are murderers and prostitutes, but there are also good, saintly people.
We all know that Jesus was born in a manger...a feeding trough. It wasn't until this Advent that I put the feeding trough and the table of God together. We come to that Table through the Eucharist. (And that only took me 54 years to realize!)
I loved the readings that had to do with signs. We are encouraged to not look too hard for signs, but rather just trust that God will take care of us. God gave people signs, but they didn't see them. He sent the largest, most blatant sign of all, but people didn't see. In fact, some don't see it today.
The 2 words that summarize this Advent for me are "Trust" and "Gratitude". Elizabeth & Zechariah trusted God, John the Baptist trusted God, Mary trusted God, Joseph trusted God. All of these people had plans that weren't God's. Yet, in the end, they didn't fight His plan or go against it. They trusted in Him, and they were grateful to Him, even when His plan was tough to follow.
Last, but certainly not least, this Advent taught me to take a look at past Advents and readjust my attitude. For the past 28 years (at least), I've tried to have a perfect Christmas for my boys. And in doing so, I think I missed out on teaching them what it's really all about. Sure, we always had an Advent Wreath and a Nativity Set, and we went to Mass. I wanted them to have the memories that I have of Christmas: the baking, the decorating, the gifts. Last year, one of my sons suggested that we skip the gifts this year; they aren't important to him. Another one of my sons told me a few weeks ago that he felt like Christmas was just another day in the last month of the year. That really cut to the bone, but he did immediately say that he guessed it was an important day. I just have to keep praying that he'll come back around some day.
I spent this Advent getting ready for Christmas...spiritually. I woke up early, read the Daily Readings & some reflections, said morning prayers, and wrote in my journal. I also viewed the clips from Best Advent Ever from Dynamic Catholic. I feel prepared, yet unprepared for Christmas at the same time. I didn't get stressed about not doing this year; I didn't get stressed about not buying. This has definitely been my best Advent yet.
I'm linking up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum for Seven Quick Takes.