Advent and the Gift of Family

by Javier Luis Gomez

For many families, the month of December begins the steady arrival of friends and family from abroad. With their balikbayan boxes and their pasalubongs, a parade of titas, titos, and cousins insert themselves into our Christmas activities.

While it is an exciting time, the experience can also be tiring. When relatives are coming home, we have to clean out the house, prepare the guest room, and lay out the extra settings at the table. Our excitement is accompanied by our responsibility to welcome our loved ones as they come into our homes.

In the spirit of Advent, we can keep this all in mind. That excitement and preparation come together. Anticipation is made sweeter by the time spent waiting.

This Advent, we can meditate on the gift of the family. And how they provide us with an opportunity to receive others. Even in the case when families disagree and do not get along. Every year, there is an invitation to be more open, to prepare ourselves for the chance that we will meet our loved ones, not just physically but emotionally also.

The invitation is not just to ready our homes but to also prepare ourselves. This is how we allow Jesus to arrive this Christmas season, and this is how we will enable our families to “arrive” as well. Whether coming from abroad or living with us under the same roof, we can all prepare ourselves to welcome our family members into our lives this Advent.

As published in the December 4 issue of the Parish Bulletin.