There is a moment in every Mass that always reminds me of the anticipation of the Advent season; it is also one of my favorite moments of the Mass. It follows our joint offering of the “Our Father” when our priest implores the Father saying “Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days, that, by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”
As we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ…what a powerful and vivid Advent message for us. Don’t we all wait with a great deal of anxiousness as the “blessed hope” that we know to be Jesus Christ, changes and shapes our lives? I often think about that first season of Advent and the anticipation that all must have felt waiting for the wonder of the joyous and heralded arrival of the infant Savior. The immaculate Mary had already given herself to be the temple of our Lord. What was her anticipation like on their approach to Bethlehem, the labor pains and birth, followed by the joy of holding Him, the Savior of the world, in her arms for the first time, knowing that he was her Savior too?
What about Joseph? We are reminded in the book of Matthew of Joseph’s personal struggle upon finding Mary with child. We are told that “since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.” (Matt 1:19) Yet a visitation from an angel of the Lord confirmed to him that his young wife was carrying our Savior, conceived by the Holy Spirit. The angel’s visitation prompted a decision from Joseph, but also offered him a choice. Thanks be to our God that he made the choice that he did and accompanied Mary on this our journey of Advent. What was Joseph feeling on his own journey?
As I think of Mary and Joseph’s anticipation of the first Advent, I find my own personal anticipation growing as I too await the Blessed Hope. The time of year, the gathering of family, the changing of the seasons, the solemnity of the deep purple at church all seem to herald His coming and hasten my anticipation. The dark nights and cold air are contrasted by the overwhelming warmth and comfort in the knowledge that His mercy will keep all of us safe, until He comes again.