Be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Luke 12:36
As another glorious Christmas approaches, many of us in the single state of life are experiencing mixed emotions. Who doesn’t enjoy the warm glow of the season? Whether it’s the extra regard for the less fortunate, family time, seasonal goodies or blockbuster movie releases that get your heart a-flutter, there’s something for everyone this time of year. But Christmas can also be a painful reminder of what we are lacking in our lives. As holiday gatherings which you must awkwardly attend alone and newly minted engaged couples crop up, the merry can quickly get hairy.
That, my dear Catholic single friends, is where Advent comes in. We are blessed with an entire season leading up to the joyful celebration of Christmas that possesses quite a different tone. Patience. Longing. Reflection. Vigilance. Hope. Advent brings experiences of faith to the forefront that are all too familiar for singles. It’s okay to be a bit melancholy during Advent, too. To know the goodness of Love and yet be separated from it, to not be able to live it out as fully as our hearts desire: that’s no picnic. It may be more difficult for those whose Christmases have come and whose lives are filled with family responsibilities or duties to their communities or parishes to enter into the season, but singles…we got this one.
As a young single woman I often feel as though my life is more “Advent” than “Christmas”. It’s a pronounced time of watchful waiting in faith, hope, and love. It may not be as cozy and inviting as the affirmation, connection, and clarity that are experienced by those who have found their vocations. Yet in Advent, there is an alternative to single-life-as-limbo. We’ve all been there. We all still fall back there from time to time. But we don’t have to stay there. In the face of a culture rift with diamond commercials, well-meaning aunties and Twilight movies, we can stand for something else. We can acknowledge waiting as a season unto itself during which God is working in and through us, often in very subtle ways. We can choose to be honest about both the joys and sorrows of waiting. We can choose to hope, to be on the look out, and to soldier on.
So let the new parents and grandparents find a joyful model in the Holy Family. Let those newly called to their vocations, be it religious, priesthood, or marriage meditate on the Annunciation. We are not forgotten, my friends. Advent is our time.