A more peaceful journey to Christmas


6 Dec 2017

The journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem shows us a different way to approach the Advent season.

The range of shiny, Christmas baubles, sparkling tinsel and sequin-studded stars is quite extensive this year. The array of Christmas colours that glamorise every retail store simply dazzle the eyes. Christmas carols pound public sound systems, and it seems that the faces of fatigue and frustration appear far more frequently traipsing the aisles of all our shopping centres. So this is the ‘Holy, Silent, Peaceful’ season of Advent.

Is it really supposed to be this way?

Advent is a significant liturgical time of the year, and while the proximity of Christmas heralds celebration, we can so easily forget about the importance of this season.

Advent asks us to ‘wait’ but beckons us to ‘heal ‘as well. It is while we wait that we contemplate the year that has been, to think deeply about who we are and more importantly, who we have become; to consider the glorious lessons we have learnt and feel gratitude for all we have been given.

It is during Advent that we also find the quiet time to heal, to make sense of the challenges that have shaken us, that have pounded at our door, that have forced us to not ever lose heart. Interestingly, the beauty of Advent is the very essence of what we all genuinely crave and need at this time of year; silence, reflection and inner peace.

One can only imagine the thoughts gushing through the fraught minds of Mary and Joseph as they made their way into Bethlehem. The magnitude of something great, and undoubtedly overwhelming, lay before them and yet it was the actual journey, the travelling, and the waiting that offered them time to reflect and seek further understanding of the changes that would unravel with the birth of their child.

Tinsel and flashing lights did not adorn the roadway for this young couple, only the idyllic, silence of night and the quiet, shared conversations that guided them through to the safe arrival of their child and the celebration with adoring, welcoming visitors. Our Advent should be so inspired by the humble journey made by Mary and Joseph.

Alas, the chaos will continue. Exhaustion will wreak havoc. There will be the clamour of confusion and demanding distractions. The concern with the ‘go, go, go’ and the ticking off of lists will escalate.

Hopefully, we too can make the time for that much-needed contemplation, that silent passage of reflection that Mary and Joseph undertook.

Let’s hope that we too can travel the Advent road that, however precarious and challenging, it will lead us to the bliss of our own Bethlehem and closer to our own peaceful and healing star.

Angela Molinari is a secondary school teacher with 35 years of experience in Catholic schools, particularly teaching senior religion and English.
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