Ring in the Holidays by Waiting (Second Advent)

While Jesus was living in the Galilean hills, John, called “the Baptiser,” was preaching in the desert country of Judea. His message was simple and austere, like his desert surroundings: “Change your life. God’s kingdom is here”. (Matthew 3: 1 – 2)

A commercial on all four radio stations on our black-and-white RCA television convinced me I wanted a set of handbells, with lyrics to songs in colours that matched similarly coloured bells, guaranteeing I would produce beautiful music. I asked Mum and, despite being told by my older brother that he didn’t exist, I also asked Santa, surreptitiously, when he was on the corner ringing a Salvation Army bell. My bases were covered. All I had to do was wait for the payoff Christmas morning after Mass.

I couldn’t wait. I searched and found my gift under the stairs by the never-used front door. I grabbed my box, shook it, and heard bells. I knew it!

Christmas morning came. Everyone was excited – except me. I tried to fake my surprise and subsequent elation. I wasn’t a good actor. Later in the day, Mum told me she could tell I knew. I did like those bells. But if I had waited, there would have been a lot more joy. Our Advent readings this week invite us to wait and, importantly, to actively prepare for all that the Saviour’s birth will bring us. For me, the first note at Midnight Mass, especially if struck by a handbell, will fill me beyond what I could possibly anticipate.

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