Faith is believing without seeing. Isn't that what we have been taught about the first of the three Theological Virtues?
We are still in the first week of Advent and the frenzy of preparation for Christmas is not dying down. If anything, the mad rush to get everything ready and perfect is getting worse. If you happened to go to a mall near you, you know what I mean.
What we should be focusing on instead is on the liturgical season of Advent. I never really understood Advent when I was younger. Back then, my family went from celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday to Christmas preparation the next day. I was the oldest and my loving mother let me be in charge of Christmas preparation. We would put up the Christmas lights, decorate the tree, play Christmas music of course the nativity would be set up, including the Baby Jesus! We knew because of our faith that Jesus would be born. We just never took the time to prepare for His birth!
My younger brothers and sisters, as well as my parents, really got into the proverbial "Christmas spirit". We did not realize how much we missed out as a family by not preparing for our Lord's coming. We would have had a more peaceful and spiritual experience had we listened to Isaiah and John the Baptist foretellings instead of the commercials on television.
Now Advent has become a very important time in our respective families. Personally, it is a time I look forward to very much.
We entered the Season of Advent with faith.
My family and I attended the Vigil Mass for the First Week of Advent followed by the Nascent Vigil for Life. That really put everything in perspective for us. We left the Church filled with peace, joy and love for each other.
On Sunday evening we had the traditional family blessing of the wreath, and the lighting of the first candle. We then read from the Magnificat Advent Companion, courtesy of our parish and reading from the day's Advent Calender. This year the little drawers in our wooden Advent Calender box are filled with teachings from St. Francis de Sales.
So, why do we do all this? It is because we have been blessed with faith like so many other families. We truly believe that God sent His only begotten Son as a baby, in the most humblest of surroundings, in order to save us. But first we must prepare ourselves spiritually for His birth. Ultimately, He took upon our sins so that we can live forever with Him in Heaven. We in return must have true contrition and make reparation because we love Him. This is faith. It is a gift from God and never do I realize it more clearly than when I see some who just do not believe. It is very sad to see the rejection of God and His love for us.
I remember reading in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, that the protagonist asked her mother why the Jewish mamas have so many babies. Her mother explained to "Francie" that it was because each one believes that the baby they are carrying would be the long awaited for Messiah. In a way, they had faith. But not enough for them to accept that their Messiah had already been born a long time ago.
Advent is the joyful waiting period for the Messiah. We know this because of the gift of faith.