The manufacturers and advertisers are taking away all the fun and excitement of the Christmas season. No sooner is summer over than Halloween costumes are displayed, they almost bypass Thanksgiving, and Christmas displays are already in place by the end of October. It is no wonder that families are discarding their Christmas trees by December 26th! Well fellow catechists and DREs, it is our mission to slow our families down and give them a lesson on anticipation.

A number of years ago, Carly Simon sang a song about anticipation: “Anticipation is keeping me waiting. We can never know about the days to come, but we think about them anyway.” To eagerly anticipate, to await, to prepare, to hope, to consider the possibilities – this is the heart of the Advent season. Didn’t John the Baptist remind everyone to prepare the way for the one who is greater, who is yet to come?

This Advent get your families excited about the birth of our Savior, have them eagerly anticipate the arrival by giving them simple, yet meaningful, crafts and activities to do as a family. Perhaps, the crafts, baking, or caroling can be sent, donated, or done at local shelters, hospitals, or senior centers. Preparing the local church as well as their homes keeps families centered on the real reason for the season. Arranging an evening to clean and ready the church for this happy arrival is another opportunity to prepare for Jesus’ arrival. Slowing everyone down by having a week-to-week event is a wonderful way to teach our families about Advent – our faith in anticipation. Having a night of hot cocoa, cookies and wrapping donated gifts for the “Giving Tree” is another way to let them foretaste the excitement of their Christmas morning exchanges.

Don’t let the advertisers ruin one of our most precious gifts – the gift of time. Time lets us make memories, time lets us share moments of joy, and time lets us ponder what possibilities the future may bring. This Advent – let anticipation keep us waiting, hoping, preparing and thinking about the days to come. “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

Blessings this Advent; may it be filled with many memorable moments.