Living Our Mission
This week we celebrate Thanksgiving — a day we gather with family and friends to give thanks to God for the many gifts we have been given. Gratitude is one of St. Ignatius’ main tenets and one our Holy Trinity family embraces in so many ways. We celebrate as parish family with a 10:00am Mass this Thursday and sing as one voice: “Now thank we all our God.”
When we enter the church this weekend there will be noticeable changes. The light, with Daylight Saving Time having ended, will be different — especially for the Vigil and 5:30 Masses. There will be banners hanging, alerting us that something is happening. In the sanctuary you see the Advent wreath. You hear the cantor say: “As the winter nights grow longer, the days grow shorter and the earth grows quiet we proclaim: light against darkness; warmth against cold; hope against despair. As we gather to give thanks to God in this season of quiet, let us listen with the ear of our heart to the heartbeat of God within us.”
The music and texts we sing have a different feel and sound. We do not sing the Glory to God. The Acclamations during the Eucharistic Prayer are a simple chant. There is a different atmosphere we experience. Introspective. Quiet. Reflective. Anticipatory.
Advent. We are resetting both our clocks and calendars. We begin planning our annual family Advent traditions. It has always been a challenge to truly celebrate and steep ourselves and our families in the season of Advent, so this week take some time to prepare yourself and your family for Advent 2021. Find your family Advent wreath or make this year you buy one or create your own with fresh greens. Buy the three violet and one rose candles. Experience the progress through the four weeks of season as you light the candle each week. Advent is a season of light in a time of darkness.
The world and our lives move so quickly, but Advent summons us to the beginning. We are reminded and enveloped in God’s compassion and mercy for us as we begin a new liturgical year. We begin the Advent season marveling about the day of the Lord’s coming as we sing “In the Day of the Lord.” We acknowledge that the day of the Lord’s coming is both an event both in the past and in our future. When we come to worship with Word and sacrament we come to understand that our encounter with the day of the Lord happens daily in our struggles and challenges and through the many decisions we make.
What will your Advent look and feel like this year? Will it be countercultural in any way? We think of Advent not only as a beginning, but as a time of waiting. We wait for the change of seasons and we wait for the brilliant colors of the fall leaves and some of us even wait for snow. But in our current Amazon ‘order-today-delivered tomorrow’ world, our world of drive-throughs and internet speed news cycles, waiting is virtually unheard of anymore. I remember growing up and waiting for the Christmas tree to be put up at home so that we could help decorate it, but that didn’t happen until Christmas Eve! It was so difficult to wait for so long…What can you and your family do to keep this Advent a season of waiting?
One of the ways I keep Advent is by not listening to any Christmas music until Christmas Eve. Not easy! But the waiting ultimately feels good. Feels right. I enjoy my favorite Christmas music through the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, this year celebrated on January 9. Find a way to deeply experience waiting in the coming four weeks. To find some silence and space.