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Kathryn Pasker Ineck offers a reflection on the Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent.

Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent: Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

I have a confession to make: nothing strikes fear in my heart quite like the First Sunday of Advent. Cue the shock and horror. What kind of a Catholic am I to feel this way, when the birth of Our Lord and Savior should be a time of hope and joy and peace?

In my house, and I suspect many of yours, Advent means special cookies and patent leather shoes. It means old movies and Bing Crosby. It means driving through neighborhoods to look at other people’s Christmas lights (because my husband and I can’t get our acts together enough to adorn our own house with them except that one glorious year my brother took pity on us and did it himself). It means buying, baking, and making gifts. It means fishing all. the. things. out of the attic and into the living room. It means school classroom parties, dance recitals, pageants and plays. Itchy dresses, pinchy bow ties, ill-fitting tights.


children decorating tiny Christmas tree


As I realize that Advent is upon us, this Gospel arrives at just the right time to offer us … hope. Before you are convinced that I am off my rocker, consider this: we live in a time where everything seems uncertain. In the middle of a pandemic. In the past couple of years, we have seen our fill of natural disasters and exceptional division both within our nation and within our Catholic community. We seem to be more divided than we have ever been as our lives become more and more politicized. We can find hope because Jesus told us hardships would happen. He told us of the uncertainty and unrest that happens as a result of the messiness of humanity.

Jesus said to his disciples: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.” (Luke 21: 24-25)


And what am I doing as the craziness around us blooms? I fill my Advent with unnecessary to-do lists and “become drowsy from … the anxieties of daily life” (34). Jesus knew that the world would be a scary place and turns our eyes to Him, much in the same way I turn my kids’ faces to look me in the eye as I tell them something important.


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Advent is a gift. It is a time to step outside of the hustle and prepare our hearts for the King. #catholicmom

Advent is a gift. It is a time to step outside of the hustle and prepare our hearts for the King. Instead of decorating our tree with the beautiful ornaments we have carefully collected over the years, we will print off paper Saint ornaments from Catholic Icing—and then recycle them come Epiphany. The classroom parties, dance recitals, pageants and plays might still be there, but we can always eat off paper plates to make our lives just a little simpler. We will look at our expectations and curate them in service of the babe in the manger.


woman setting out rustic Christmas village decorations

Copyright 2021 Kathryn Pasker Ineck
Images: Canva Pro