Of all the liturgical seasons, I think Advent is my favorite. While Easter and Christmas are filled with the joy of the seasons, there is something beautiful about sitting in anticipation for God to reveal his glory.
Maybe it’s because, since waiting is a common experience, Advent elevates the common and makes it sacred. All through our lives, we live in seasons of waiting. Kids wait in anticipation for summer break and Christmas morning. Teens wait to go off to college or move out on their own. Young adults wait for God to reveal his plans for their lives. Parents wait for God to bless them with children — and grandparents await grandchildren. We wait on new houses, new jobs, new experiences, as well as new communities, new friends and new homes to be welcomed into.
Most importantly — as this season reminds us — we await the coming of the One whom we are called to love above all else. We wait on the Word to be made flesh, and for him to make his presence known among us.
I know I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: God spoils me. This year especially he made himself known to me in new and intimate ways, revealing himself through the people he placed in my life. And now as Advent transitions into Christmas, the advent waiting of one season of my life is transitioning into the joy of another.
But, let me backup a little bit.
A little over a year ago on a normal November evening, I was hanging out with a number of friends at our young adult group at my parish. As I was leaving that evening, Dominic, one of the guys in the group, walked me to my car and, to my surprise, asked me on a date. To keep it short and sweet, I was further surprised, date by date and month by month, by how well we got along, how closely our views on faith and the world aligned, and how God was clearly using this man to reveal his own love to me.
It didn’t take very long before Dominic and I realized where God was leading us. But a little more waiting ensued before anything was set in stone.
Then, on a sunny December day after some time of Eucharistic adoration, he got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him. Well, actually he asked if I wanted to get to heaven alongside him, but I said yes anyway.
And that’s what this season is about — remembering that God came to earth so that we might be born again into heaven with him for all eternity one day. This life is one long season of waiting — waiting to be swept into the arms of eternity. All our paths of getting there are unique, but our end goal is the same.
As I anticipated our engagement in the weeks leading up to Dominic’s proposal, my morning prayer had a recurring theme. I prayed that the excitement, joy and love I felt for my vocation would help me prepare with excitement, joy and love for Christ’s coming into my heart — at Christmas and throughout my life.
And I hope the same for you. I pray that in some way, Emmanuel — God with us — will reveal anew how he desires to unveil his unique love for you. I pray that you may come to see Christ in the flesh through the people God has placed in your life. And I pray that your own hearts may be moved to love him with a deeper, purer, more intimate love. For he is the ultimate spouse of our souls — man, woman and child alike.
Please keep Dominic and me in your prayers as we prepare for marriage. And know that during this Christmas season and always, you are in my prayers.
Ava Lalor is assistant editor for Our Sunday Visitor and editor for Radiant magazine.