Advent Reflection by Father Kyle Doustou

….As people of faith…our holidays and holy days are not simply about the celebration of temporal realties but, rather, our participation in eternal mysteries. This means that we enter into these celebrations primarily with faith, which has the power to transform our whole experience of this life, both the good and the bad. Christmas for example, is not simply about celebrating beautiful but rather abstract notions of peace and goodwill but, rather, that the very peace and goodness of God has become incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ and that he has come to us in our bleak midwinter, in the frosty throes of a silent night, to make his dwelling among us. Our celebration then is less about superficially “holly and jolly,” but becoming truly joyful in the face of God’s all-pervading love for us and becoming signposts of this love, even in the midst of our sufferings and struggles.

This is the lesson that good Bob Cratchit learned from his very sick son, Tiny Tim, in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Far from running away from his own sufferings, Tiny Tim told his father that he hoped people had seen him in church on Christmas morning because “he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas day who made lame beggars walk and blind men see.” I don’t know about you, but that gets me right in the gut. We know, love, and serve a God who doesn’t simply chase away our sufferings but actually transforms them and uses them to love the world in a deeper, more radical way.

So, my friends, as we prepare to enter into the holy season of Advent, perhaps it would be beneficial for us to take a good inventory of our inner thoughts and feelings and to resolve ourselves to think and feel them with the Prince of Peace. He wants to share in our joys and our sorrows, and it is precisely in opening our eyes and hearts to this that we come to see and know that no matter what we have going on in our lives, we are not alone. And when this mystery has been made known to us, we can help it to be made known to others.

Have a wonderful week. Situate yourself firmly in the Lord’s love for you….

Father Kyle Doustou is pastor of the Parish of the Resurrection of the Lord, Old Town, and director of the Office of Campus Ministry for the Diocese of Portland