by Clyde Ericson Nolasco
The year 2020 is almost over. And I bet I am not the only one waiting for this year to end.
We were ushered into this year with the fiery bushes of Australia and the sulphurous smoke of Taal volcano. The Black Mamba (NBA legend Kobe Bryant) died. Many lives were lost when an earthquake hit Turkey while strong typhoons ravaged our archipelago. Parts of the US are experiencing orange skies due to California wildfires.
What’s worse is thousands have died and most of us are still in lockdown due to COVID-19. Schools are still closed. Church activities especially masses are limited and, sadly, some businesses have already closed permanently due to the effects of this pandemic. We are in the middle of not just a health crisis but also of a looming economic crisis.
With all these, how we would like this year to end soonest and to start anew with the coming year 2021!
However, the nearer we are to 2021, the more impatient we become. Waiting becomes painstaking.
Waiting seems to be a weakness for most of us.
Liturgically, we are in the most proper time of the year to talk about waiting as we enter the season of Advent and as we prepare for Christmas and the year to come.
The season of Advent opens a new liturgical year and paves the way to Christmas.
Advent comes from the Latin word “adventus” that means “arrival” or “coming.” This season is a two-fold preparation as we remember the first Christmas and as we anticipate Jesus’ second coming.
The season invites us to prepare our hearts and spirits as we remember the day the incarnate God was born. We put up our Belen to commemorate the first nativity in Bethlehem. We gather as one family and relive every year the love that was gifted to us during the first Christmas.
Along with this festive event, Advent is also meant to prepare us for Jesus’ promise of His second coming: that He will come again to bring about new heavens and a new earth.
Though known to us that He will be back again, its fulfillment will always remain a mystery to all of us. Thus, we are challenged to be prepared and be watchful of the day He would be back for that will be the Judgment Day.
Sadly, Advent appears to be a neglected season. We are so preoccupied with the Christmas rush that we forget the true spirit of Advent, which is to “wait” for the Messiah.
Why is it hard to wait?
Most of the time, we would fail to wait. In a fast-paced world, waiting is becoming a skill to a few and a burden to many.
Waiting makes us powerless. Waiting would inevitably remind us that we can’t control time thus reminding us that we are just left to do nothing but to wait. No matter how much we preoccupy ourselves while waiting, time runs the same.
Waiting is a mental battle. Because it’s not easy to wait, it becomes mental calisthenics. Only those who can control their worries and anxieties while waiting would successfully get through the process without getting either bored or stressed.
Mary and Joseph
This season, let us allow Mary and Joseph to journey with us as we await for Jesus’ arrival.
From the Annunciation to the Nativity, from Bethlehem to Nazareth, to the mountains of Golgotha, Mary might have been perplexed many times. She could have resigned and reversed her promise of Fiat with all those events that happened to her Son. But she patiently waited for her questions to be answered. She waited with all her faith.
Being the earthly father, Joseph’s role to Jesus was challenging: from accepting the pregnant Mary to keeping them safe from Herod. Biblically, Joseph remained quiet but he became a man of action. Though was hesitant, he never failed to do his part. Joseph quietly waited as the salvific plan of God unfolded.
Let us wait for 2021 with faithful hearts and in active silence that all these too shall pass in Jesus’ name.
Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!