Finding reminders of God’s love during Advent

When our kindergartener came home from school the other day, he was full of smiles and candy canes and energy.
“Today Santa came to our school!” he told me. “And he was the real Santa, Mama! He knew my name! I didn’t have to tell him!”
It wasn’t that he had a thick white beard, the inside scoop on the reindeer, or a convincing ho-ho-ho that impressed him. It was the fact that Santa knew our little boy’s name. He made our kindergartener—and all the others—feel special and important and valued, just by knowing their names.
In just a few days we will celebrate the birth of a Child. That Child knows your name and mine and the names of everyone in the world yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The fact that Jesus was born should make us want to jump for the joy of a kindergartener who has just eaten way too much candy and met the real Santa Claus.

Somehow, though, it can be hard to find that joy during Advent, with all the wrapping and card-sending and shopping and…well…keeping the children who are counting the days to Christmas from bouncing through the ceiling. I haven’t spent as much time in prayer as I would like, and some nights we don’t even light the Advent wreath. But this Advent I keep running across reminders of God’s deep and constant love.
Last week when our sons performed in their school Christmas concert, I didn’t want to miss a moment.
At one point, in fact, I realized I was hardly aware that other children were performing. My eyes were completely on our sons. I wanted to drink in the experience, celebrate this accomplishment with them, and marvel at all they can do. I found myself even getting emotional as I thought of how blessed I am to be their mother and to watch them grow.
That’s how much I love them. But God? He loves every single one of us that much—and more. For Him, every single one of us is his special child, the one He can’t keep His eyes off of during the concert. He knows that that child used to hide on stage, and that other one could never remember the words. He knows that that child will be the star of her high school play or that that one will sing the National Anthem in a stadium one day.

He knows all of that—and He watches every one of us with an even deeper love than we can comprehend.

No wonder He sent His only Son to be born in a stable in Bethlehem and one day redeem the world.

In these final days before Christmas, how is your Advent journey going?

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.