He pulls out the ladder and heads toward the attic. Still in his work overalls, the wet mud he’s been in all day has dried to a crusty light brown around his knees. He’s been up since 4:30 this morning and is still working; this time it’s for me, and I smile at him as he heads up the stairs.
“It seems like I just put all these things away not to long ago; time goes by so quickly”, he says.
He hands me down the boxes of decorations, an accumulation of memories that we have collected and shared over the past 36 years.
“Yes, time does go by quickly”, I say in response.
First he hands me down the box that holds our Advent wreath; I had been asking for it for days now. The lighting of the Advent wreath has long been a tradition in my family, going way back to the time I was a small child.
Mom would always set the table so festive on that Sunday night, a hearty meal was set before us, and dad was first to light the candle. He would always offer a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving for all we had received throughout the year and he would remind us of the reason for the season, it was a time to prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of Christ Jesus.
It was a time of anticipation, a time of prayer and a time of sharing what we had with others.
Passing down traditions of faith and family have always been important to us.
"Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope.… Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Seek That Which Is Above,1986
The Lord blesses us with so many things; all He asks of us in return is to love Him, to believe in Him and to have hope in Him.
"Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." Romans 8:24-25
The greatest gift you will ever receive will never be found under a Christmas tree. It is far too valuable to be stored in any other place but in the depths of your heart.