By Br. Linh Hoang OFM
After Thanksgiving feasting is done, many of us rush toward Christmas and the holiday season preoccupied with buying the right gifts and planning the perfect parties. For the anxious students, there are also exams and projects needing attention. With all of these activities and worries, many of us forget that there is a season between Thanksgiving and Christmas that calls us to slow down—Advent.
Advent marks the beginning of a new liturgical year in the Church. It is a time to wait for the birth of Jesus Christ. This waiting is anticipation of the most marvelous gift that the world has received. In waiting, we prepare ourselves in many different ways. People set aside time to pray more, read the birth narratives in the Gospels, do some charitable works, or spend more time with family and friends. This preparation also calls forth having three approaches: hindsight, foresight and insight. It is the hindsight to reflect back on the year: what has been good, what has been not good. It is the foresight to hope and dream about the future: what can I do to be better, what can I do to help others. It is the insight to reflect about oneself: what is important in my life, what do I appreciate. Advent gives us to time to look back on the year in order to appreciate the small gift that is offered to us at Christmas.