The glorious season of Advent is almost upon us and not a moment too soon. Between the ongoing pandemic, lockdowns, election stressors, civil unrest, ongoing issues within the Church and (given the ongoing restrictions on worship) “without,” it risks nothing at all to say that 2020 has been a problematic pip of a year, from start to finish. And we’re not done yet.
It is a true measure of just how stressful the year has been that “we’re not done yet” sounds more like a threat than a mere fact.
But Advent is coming! Lovely Advent! Expectant, hopeful Advent! The season that invites us to breathe deeply and look outward in the sort of “joyful hope” we Catholics talk about but rarely—most rarely, this year—feel. This is the season that shakes us from our torpor as early night comes, and the match is struck, and the message is brought home once more that we are forever in the absence of light until we permit it to beam, splendid and warm, into the remotest apertures of our shivering, battered, and lonely spirits.