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Not about the toys and ham

by Juliana Valdez

“Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart. Wait I say on the Lord.” Psalm 140

Advent, a season Mother Church in her wisdom has given to us to wait…wait to celebrate the coming of our Saviour at Christmas.

I view all the commercials on the television encouraging the population to take advantage of offers or our Christmas will not be happy. Since children are TV viewers as well, the latest toys and play gadgets are also part of this marketing so that they can tell parents exactly what they want for Christmas. It is therefore up to the catechists in the parish to prepare programmes, talks, etc. educate the children about the meaning of this season of Advent, why we wait, how we wait, what we do as we wait and what we would have achieved through this waiting when we celebrate the birth of the Saviour at Christmas.

I will share with you one of the activities I embarked on a couple years ago, before I retired. Our school, La Divina Pastora Siparia Boys’ RC was asked to present an item for the opening of the crèche at the La Divina Pastora RC Church, Siparia, so I decided on skit which would educate both the participants and the audience. Here is a condensed version of the activity.

Introduction: A group of boys enter chatting about the fact that the crèche reminds them that Christmas is coming and what they hoped to get for Christmas, some listing the eats and drinks they were looking forward to.

One boy states: You all know we in the season of Advent?

Together the others chorus: Ad who??

He explains: Advent the season before Christmas when we wait.

One boy states: Wait for what?

He explains: More important than the ‘what’ is the ‘how’ and at the end of it, the ‘what’ will be obvious. Come let us sing.

They gather around him and sing: Children gather ‘round today, waiting for Jesus.

Here it is explained that the crèche is a physical representation of the scene at the manger in Bethlehem where Jesus was born, a scene which is supposed to remind us that the time before Christmas, Advent is a time to prepare ourselves spiritually to truly celebrate the birth of Christ with meaning.

While we wait, we fast, pray more, embark on acts of kindness, read the Bible, especially those accounts of the goodness of God, His love and mercy which endures forever and His desire that all mankind should strive for eternal life in heaven. His unconditional love which saw Him sending His only begotten Son to die so that we may have life, participation in the special Advent prayers and Novena in the church.

The discourse ended with a reminder that Jesus will come again and like John the Baptist reminded us, we should repent of our sins, make use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and make our paths straight.

Then together the hymn is sung, “He sent to say He will be coming…..”

The boys had great fun memorising their lines and put a lot of drama in executing them. The little production was applauded by those gathered.

We are indeed in this season of waiting. We must remember that the physical preparation must not supersede the spiritual preparations. After all, Christmas is not just the paint, curtains, sorrel, ham, etc. The real reason for the season is far more important and relevant for our salvation.

This Advent then, let us remember it is a time of waiting and expectancy for the return of Christ in glory.