Are you breathing a sigh of relief that Advent is over and the mad rush to get things in order — your heart, your home, your to-do list — has come to an end?
There is a feeling when I focus on living Advent that Christmas is the endpoint. It’s a kind of exhale when we walk out of Mass on Christmas Eve. What’s done is done, and what didn’t get done can’t really matter now (or I’ll rush it once the kids are in bed).
My Advent wasn’t as peaceful as I’d hoped it would be. I felt like I was always running (figuratively, that is; I missed a lot of my typical mornings at the gym), and rarely, if ever, did I get the rest my mind and body needed in between. By the grace of God I managed to fit in prayer, which gave me some sense of balance in it all.
Now that Christmas is finally here, I’m experiencing a feeling akin to that of delivering a baby: The pregnancy is over, so there’s that moment of mental and physical release before the task changes to that of caring for a newborn and for myself as a postpartum mama. The end of one is the beginning of the other, but there is a pause in between.
It’s a moment of transition. I haven’t been giving those moments of transition their due in all my rushing around town. I’m grateful that today the Church takes a deep breath. The promise has been fulfilled. A Child has been born. A Son is given. And He will redeem the world. Amen.
I’ve not been getting to daily Mass recently, largely due to my sweet eleven-month-old near-walker, who doesn’t want to stay in the pew. This week, my husband has off work, and I know I’ll get there every day, because teamwork makes the dream work, as they say. My parish priest sings an opening and closing hymn at daily Mass, and I love that during the Octave of Christmas, he leads us in the same Christmas hymn every single day.
That simple gesture reminds me to pause, to savor this moment of transition, to settle into it and let my soul rest here. Thank God Christmas is not just 24 hours. Thank God there are eight days to celebrate this feast we’ve longed for, we’ve prepared for.
“The weary world rejoices,” indeed. Advent is over. Christmas is just getting started. I pray we all experience the hope, the joy, the love of this season, no matter what else is going on in our lives.
Christmas is not an end, but a beginning.
Copyright 2018 Lindsay Schlegel