TBy Michael Tsui ’18
The four weeks before Christmas, the Catholic season of Advent, mark the time when people are often busy with their holiday preparations such as decorating homes, sending Christmas cards, and shopping for gifts. While the season is filled with stress, many people forget the true joy of the season, the birth of Jesus Christ.
On Thursday, December 3 and Friday, December 4, Chaminade held its annual Advent prayer services to remind each division that the Advent season signifies the preparation to celebrate the arrival of Jesus. Each service began with a heartwarming video called “The Other Letter” about children writing two Christmas letters: one to the “Three Kings” and the other one to their parents. The children asked for toys when writing to the Kings; however, when they wrote to their parents, the children asked for love. They wanted to “do more experiments at home” and “spend one whole day with their parents.” This video made it clear that the children knew something that teens and adults often forget: Christmas is not just a time for giving and getting; it is also a time for joyful celebration with the most meaningful people in an individual’s life.
The next video recalled the story of Jesus’ birth, and the final clip showed how people should help others during Advent. Throughout the service, Chaminade student-actors further explained the videos and the season of Advent. After the presentation, one speaker, Timothy Walter ’16, commented on “The Other Letter,” saying, “The children reflected Christ through their desire for love rather than materialistic things, which Advent calls everyone to do.”
To conclude the service, Fr. Garrett Long, S.M. ’62, delivered a moving speech about Reconciliation. He, after performing countless Reconciliations, noticed three general “mercies” that should be focused on during the season of Advent: mercy to God, mercy to our parents, and mercy on ourselves.
Fr. Garrett estimated that only 20% of students attended Mass weekly while the remainder slept, participated in sports, or just did homework. He encouraged the students to make an extra effort to wake up a little earlier, skip a game, or do homework in advance in order to go to Mass and thank God for the best gift they could have received, Jesus.
“And one of the things I heard from them [students] was that their parents don’t go to church. So what?” he exclaimed. “You guys have bicycles. God gave you two legs; you can [still] go to church!”
Next he talked about showing mercy to parents. Parents make the Christmas season special, filling it with love and gifts. They work hard daily in order to provide love and support, and Fr. Garrett asked the students to be more appreciative of them this Advent.
He finished with the last mercy, mercy on oneself. In addition to disrespecting parents, students often disrespect themselves. When students sin by lying, cheating, or giving into temptations, they are hurting themselves as well as others. This season, Fr. Garrett added, students should attempt to put those bad habits aside.
Advent is a special season for Christians. The Chaminade prayer service was a reminder to students that, although modern culture may place focus on shopping, Advent is truly a time of preparation for the coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.