I recently saw a video online from one of my former students. She has two little girls. She and her husband were filming the girls as they ran out of the house to see what was different about a small house built in the back yard. Obviously, the parents were hoping the girls would get excited for the arrival of their elves on the shelf, which they had from last year. Now the girls were excited. About the balloons on the top of the house. Not about the elves, or the presents on the ledge of the small backyard house. Now I am sure they did eventually, and will continue to get excited about their elves. But they started so distracted. They loved the balloons, but missed the elves.
In a way, we can be like that too, especially with the season of Advent. We can get distracted by tinsel, and glitter, and sales and gifts and presents. We can focus too much on what we have to do, so that the season of Advent becomes simply one big long list of stressful things on a to-do list. But these things are the balloons on the house. They are not the center piece. They are not the priority. If we are not careful this Advent, we could miss the “reason for the season.” We could find our hearts and souls are not ready to receive Jesus this Christmas.
The first reading served as inspiration for the song, “Redeemer, Lord” written by John Foley, SJ. I find it quite reflective and a great way to pray on this first Sunday of Advent, so I have added a YouTube clip below..