By Fr. Bjorn, OES
Advent is my favorite liturgical season, with Lent coming in as a close second.
It is a season of joyful hope, awaiting the arrival of Christ into our hearts anew at Christmas.
Advent is full of rich liturgical traditions. Christians usually hear stories from the Bible that tell of Christ's coming through the Virgin Mary, His earthly mother. Some churches observe traditions such as the lighting of the Advent wreath, hymns and carols, and many other things that celebrate the anticipation of the arrival of Christ.
My favorite part of Advent, though, is the reconnecting with loved ones in the days leading up to Christmas. It has been my experience that the most forgiveness, the most love and the most shared joy happens among families during this time, and is an example of how we ought to treat people throughout the year.
Forgiveness seems to come easily during Advent. Old hatchets are buried for the sake of togetherness, and bonds that had been previously broken are, at least in part, restored during this joyful season. No matter what our petty quarrels are with friends and family, we (typically) lay them aside and welcome people into our homes and into our hearts.
I would encourage each of you reading this to consider taking a little bit of Advent with you throughout the next year. Strive to forgive those who have hurt you, not because they deserve it, but because you deserve peace. Welcome old and new friends with open arms, and try to have a little more contact with your family (because you are stuck with them and because there is no bond stronger than that of blood or chosen families).
Lastly, strive to be peaceful and joyous in your daily life. You may find that things around you will vastly improve, and that you yourself will have more inner and outer peace and joy.
Reflections from the monks and nuns of OES.