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Day 2: Arrive

Advent Blog Headers 2023 (1)

Editor’s Note: For day 2 of our Advent series “The Day of Joy Drew Near,” DC Service Corps member Noah Duclos reflects on waiting for Jesus’ arrival during Advent and notices that God always has been and always will be present in our world.

An ongoing debate in the Casa community has been when it is appropriate to start listening to Christmas music. Should we have waited for Advent to start? Should it even wait until Christmas Eve, or the day itself? Or, as we wound up deciding, was it okay to begin even before Thanksgiving? Truly one of the most fraught moral issues of our age, I know. 

Joking aside, this dilemma raises some interesting questions. Are we too eager to bypass the season of Advent, with its emphasis on waiting and the notion of “not yet,” jumping ahead too early to the specific joys of the Christmas season itself? If we start the party too early, are we in danger of burning out on Christmas spirit before the Church has even had a chance to celebrate the Nativity of our Lord? The beauty of our liturgical seasons, after all, is the intentional differences from one season to the next, and the invitation to immerse our spiritual lives in different specific values. For example, Lent is a season of renewal and reconciliation, Easter is a season of resurrection and new life, and Ordinary Time is a season of growth and living daily with Christ. 

Is the conflation of Advent with Christmas a negative thing, then? In some ways, maybe. It’s worth remembering that the focus in Advent isn’t on waiting for its own sake, or waiting for something that we don’t already have. Jesus is, after all, already here with us in the Blessed Sacrament and in the promise that where two or three are gathered in his name, there, he is also. Even thinking historically, in the weeks before Jesus’ birth two thousand years ago, he was already incarnate, God made flesh here on earth among God’s creation, but he was hidden. We celebrate the revelation of that incarnation at Christmas, but we are already in the presence of the incarnation in Advent. 

This Advent, let’s look for the hidden incarnation of our Lord in our neighbors at the margins, celebrating Jesus’ arrival where we least expect to see him. If we have to listen to Christmas songs, let’s at least throw in a couple of Advent hymns to balance it out! 

Question for Reflection: How do you see our Incarnate Lord already present in the people and places around you?

Noah is from Jacksonville, Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida in 2019 with a degree in Classics and Jewish Studies and from Yale Divinity School in 2023 with a Master of Divinity degree. Noah is serving as the Development Associate in the FMS office and is excited to contribute to the work of FMS while living out the Franciscan values of simplicity, solidarity, and hospitality.