Last week I was surprised to see some autumn frost settling early in the morning. It made me realize how winter waits in the quiet darkness of night to catch us off guard then breathes its blustery winds and howling snows upon us who know it’s coming. But we do not know the exact hour. How appropriate the three words we hear in the Scriptures: “waiting,” “darkness,” and “quiet” are not only winter words, but they are also Advent symbols as well! On this first Sunday of Advent, we begin to wait instead of rushing around as usual. We warm our hands as we dress to take out the chill. Our pace seems a bit slower. This is the natural rhythm of the seasons that God gave us to teach us some lessons. For example, as we slow down because of the chill, we can redeem the moments we spend in traffic or in line by being cheerful and patient with people ahead of us. Or we can offer a helping hand to others carrying packages. We can even offer a silent prayer for those around us. In Advent we can also welcome the darkness. Even though nights are longer and colder, they can remind us of the darkness and cold of a world without Christ. In Advent, we can embrace more quiet and avoid all the noise around us. We can take extra time to read from the Bible or another spiritual book and reflect in quiet. You can see the value of Advent and why it is such an important season in preparation for meeting Christ at Christmas. We can’t meet Christ at Christmas if we are filled with anxiety and rush. St. Francis of Assisi and his friars would do an Advent fast during the whole time of this holy season. They didn’t seek anything else to fill them, not even food. They only wanted the Word of the Lord, Jesus Christ, to nourish them. Here at Blessed Sacrament, we are as busy as everyone else as we prepare our special Mass and events to commemorate the holy season of Advent. Please try to look at our Advent Wreath a little more this year. The Advent Wreath is all about the “circle of life.” We want to focus on Jesus Christ as the one who guides us through our journey of life. Without Him, there can be no peace nor contentment in our lives nor in this world. So, we encourage you to pray, slow down, rest and reflect upon what’s really important in life. Our faith! Happy Advent!        

                                                                                        Fr. John