Catholic singles, especially the ladies, have many things they do to prepare for the day they say “I do” and begin their married lives. There’s the age-old tradition of stocking a Hope Chest, full of useful and sentimental things for a future home, or the habit of writing letters to a future husband/wife, to be shared with them at a special time. They practice purity and save themselves, and cultivate virtue to prepare themselves to meet their future loves worthily, when the time comes. They put so much energy, time, and thought into readying themselves for the day they’ve been waiting for their entire lives. But, they aren’t the only ones who should be readying a place in their hearts and homes for an approaching lover.
Advent is the time when Catholics start preparing, as the wonderful song “People Look East” reminds them, to “trim the hearth and set the table” for “Love the Lord is on the way”. To continue with the wedding analogy, the Church is the Bride of Christ, and Advent is the time for her to adorn herself in anticipation of meeting Him for the first time. As the season continues, Catholics should- like a giddy bride before her wedding- joyfully ready themselves to receive- and to give- the greatest gift of all: the gift of another. For Christmas is the day when God, out of infinite love for His people, took on the form of man so completely that He truly became one of His children, fully human while fully divine, and gave His people the unparalleled gift of Himself, in the humble form of a child. Think of it, the King of Kings, the one whom the universe cannot contain, cradled gently in a small feeding troth, the Bread of Life indeed.
But this was not a gift whose excitement died away as time passed, for this great gift, this God-Man called Savior, kept on giving of Himself until He had not one drop of blood left to give. And when His blood ran out, He instituted a Sacrament through which His people might continue to receive Him, Body and Soul, for all eternity.
So, as Advent approaches, “set every peak and valley humming, with the news the Lord is coming” and “look East” for the Bridegroom is coming, and His loving eyes will be looking for His Bride.
I would like to thank Tito Edwards for linking to this article in his National Catholic Register post for December 15, 2012.