I think Advent is perhaps the most underrated season of the liturgical year. It seems that try as we might, Advent with its soft whispers is drowned out by the hustle and bustle of Christmas. Advent with its muted colors of purple and dark blue is overcome with Christmas and its bright colors of red and green. Lent comes in with a bang, with its populist holy day of Ash Wednesday and goes out with a flare of an Easter Vigil. But Advent comes in silently with an evergreen wreath and a few candles—only to go out with the soft strains of Silent Night. Advent goes by almost unnoticed. So many things in our lives are like this.
I recently read a book called “Small Great Things.” I love that title. It is a paraphrase of what Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.” Isn’t that just like Advent? It is a small sort of liturgical season that does a great thing for us. It introduces us to “The Word made flesh”—Christ among us—God taking on our human condition. That is a hard thing to get our mind around. Fortunately, we have scripture to help us understand, and our faith to anchor us in this reality. So many things in our lives are like this.
Dr. King’s words and Advent remind me of our human condition. Most of us will spend our lifetime doing small things. Some of us will do those small things in a way that goes unnoticed. Some of us will do these small things in a great way simply because of the sacrifice it costs. Some few of us will do really great things. So, I suppose that means most of us are really Advent people. And I repeat myself…so many things in our lives are like this.
By Sister Janet M. Peterworth, OSU