M. Jolaine Szymkowiak
Titus 2:11-13, 3:1-9
Advent - The season of waiting for the expected Christmas holiday is charged with anticipation. With that sense of anticipation, there is a tendency for a person to get overwhelmed and so caught up in the involvement of Advent and Christmas that one gets frazzled and finds fault with everything and everyone. Guilt follows, and at times one is incompetent to have meaningful relationships with friends or family. Sometimes to find a place to hide during the holidays is wanted.
We find these words in Titus, ''For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all, training us to renounce irreligious and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ'' (vs. 11-13. This is what we attempt to do during Advent - wait. In the waiting, we are reminded ''to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for any honest work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all'' (3:1-2).
This is almost exactly what we tell our children while they also are waiting in expectancy for Christmas: ''If you will be really, really good: mind your mother, take out the trash, dry the dishes when it is your turn, don't lie, quit quarreling with your sister, something good will happen.'' ''For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasure, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by all and hating one another'' (3:4). When we remember our own past behavior, our own wants and desires of Christmases past, are we really able to separate the every day behavior of the previous months from that of the time of waiting during Advent for Christmas?
A time so full of expectancy, and yet for some, a time of despondency and depression, Advent is made up of hope, hope in the beauty ...
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