By Jourdan Reynolds
For The Catholic Messenger
As the season of Advent is upon us, I find myself thinking of past moments that have caught my attention during this period of time. I have memories of the Advent wreath and its candles and how it bothered me that the candles weren’t lit all at the same time, creating havoc for my OCD (obsessive, compulsive disorder) mentality.
I remember the pink candle was my favorite because it meant that Christmas was just around the corner. It makes me laugh to think about how my child mind associated Advent with Christmas. In some respects, I was right to view Advent as a countdown to the birth of our Lord, but thankfully the season is much more than that.
I remember in eighth-grade religion class that we learned Advent is a time for waiting and preparing. Our teacher told us that the word “Advent” comes from two Latin words, which I failed to remember when we took the test, and I fail to remember now. (Editor’s note: The two Latin words are advenire, which means “to come” and adventus, which means “an arrival”).
Luckily, I remember the words “wait” and “prepare,” which was the answer to the only question I got correct on the day of the exam. Those two words come to mind again and again, and serve as guiding points for what Advent means to me and how I wait and prepare for Christmas.
In my prayer life, I like to focus on the past, the present and the future. I think about the past year in review, reflecting on all the good times, tough times and comical moments that occurred. I thank God for all of them as I meditate on how they’ve come together to form my life in the present. I believe that life is a complex combination of free will, choices and God’s providence and intervention. I also like to contemplate on the future and what awaits my family and me in God’s plans for us.
For me, Advent is about preparing mentally and spiritually, taking time to reflect on my life and the blessings that God has given to me and to my family, and what I can do in the future to further expand the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
As I anticipate the celebration of the Nativity of our Lord, I am filled with joy and happiness to know that Christ is continually with us. By his birth we were given the gift of himself, which in turn began the greatest life story the world has ever experienced and will forever give witness to.
“And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth,” (John 1:14).
(Jourdan Reynolds is the secretary and bookkeeper at St. Mary of the Visitation Parish in Ottumwa.)