Fr. John and I like to watch football in the evenings. Sunday and Monday nights are the best. We usually meet in his room, cause his TV is bigger than mine (I covet Fr. John’s TV!).
But, what often proves to be more fun than the football is watching the ads. Either John or I will offer comments about how interesting or stupid the premise of the ad may be.
For example, have you seen the series of ads for subscription TV? The handsome guy and the same guy in creepy version? We HATE those ads. The message? “Don’t be like the creepy me. Be like the cool me, get ****TV.”
Or the car ads. Have you ever seen a group of people so happy just to sit in their new car? Or run along side it?! Or dance in the street over it?
But, the ones that get me the most (in a strangely off-putting way) are the jewelry ads. As everybody knows (especially Jewelry Stores), the Christmas season is the time many young lovers get engaged. The young man goes through the fires of hell picking out just the right ring and planning his proposal. Finally, the time arrives and (as always), the woman becomes the measure of the moment of love. “Yes!!”, she says.
So, how do us crusty old priests read these ads? Probably like you, the parents and grandparents of these “kids” . . . with a smile. A smile that acknowledges the happiness of this moment (you all remember yours, right?), but a smile that knows this “Hollywood” moment lasts only for a short while. Now comes the living out of those promises — the doing.
So, what does this all have to do with Advent and Christmas? It’s all about the search for what’s real. Where do we find the thing in life that will not disappoint, that will touch and warm the heart, that will be an unfailing guide to true happiness? Where do we look?
Advent tells us to avoid the “loud”, the “flashy”, the “biggest”, the “happiest”, the “best”. You see those words (good in themselves) are applied to things that really don’t merit them. There is nothing you can buy or receive as a present that will, of itself, bring you the “merriest Christmas ever”.
There is only one thing that satisfies the human heart. It is love. And how does one find love? Not in a new car or TV or even a ring. It comes in recognizing your goodness in being created by God. God didn’t have to make you. He wanted to make you. God loved you and every other human being into existence. And, He made us unlike any other creature . . . God made us in His image. That means we have the ability to give and receive love. Almost like breathing.
So what is the happiness of this season? Doing the things of loving. The small things. Like:
- Listening to people. It’s such a gift when we’re listened to.
- Be patient. Let others go before you.
- Look for goodness. Point it out when you see it.
- Give the benefit of the doubt.
- Let go of past hurts and prejudices
- Speak an encouraging word.
- Collect your thoughts in a quiet moment, and give them to God (prayer).
- Anticipate other’s needs. Be there quietly to help.
- Apologize for some slight you’ve delivered.
- Smile. No one smiles like you!
Lord, there’s trouble everywhere. Give me the eyes to see where you want me to be with your word of Hope.
Second Sunday of Advent. Go slowly. Let love grow.