When I first arrived in Norwalk this summer, I knew immediately that I was in a very special place. I was simply overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity shown to me by parishioners and strangers alike. All of you have welcomed me so warmly to your city, and for that I am and always will be truly grateful.
Having reflected on the past several months, I am reminded of the many blessings God gives whenever we face new beginnings in our lives, beginnings such as the birth of a child, a wedding, our school year and even our capital campaign. These beginnings, simple as they seem, help us prepare ourselves well for other beginnings in our lives of faith, namely, the beginning of the new liturgical year with the first Sunday of Advent on Sunday.
Our students have already begun preparing their hearts for the birth of Christ. Their participation in our annual Make A Difference Day community service activities demonstrated their desire to love with the heart of Christ who came not to be served, but to serve. Our annual Turkey Bowl raised money for those in need as our students helped feed the hungry and, in doing so, put one of the corporal works of mercy into action.
During Advent our students will have the opportunity to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation and, in doing so, to experience God’s infinite love and mercy. Soon, our band and choir students will be showcased in concerts featuring the sounds of the season. And, in due time, after the last exams are taken, the students will join their families to celebrate Christmas – the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Their preparations should inspire and encourage all of us in our efforts to prepare for the newborn King of Kings. The season of Advent is an ideal time to reflect on God’s love for us – a love so great that He sent His only Son – and on our love for God. Our love for Him should guide and inform everything we think, say, and do.
For that reason, today and every day, stay close to Christ, and do not be afraid. He and He alone is the Way and the Truth and the Life. His light will scatter the darkness of your life – the darkness of sin, doubt, and despair – and will illuminate the way He has planned for you to walk with the help of His grace.
Take advantage of these weeks of Advent and prepare your heart well for Christ’s coming. He is your Lord and Savior who knows you, who loves you, and who always wants what is best for you. Entrust your entire life to Him, and He will never disappoint you.
Christ stands at the door and knocks at the Bethlehem of your heart. Approach Him with the humility of Mary, the courage of Joseph, the wonder of the shepherds, and the reverence of the magi. You need only bring the gift of yourself as you come before the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings, Jesus Christ, who is Himself the greatest gift of all.
Local columnist the Rev. Andrew Wellmann is the chaplain at Norwalk Catholic and St. Paul High schools. He is also the parochial vicar at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church.