'Tis the Season...

Posted on: Dec 10, 2022

I grew up on Long Island just slightly one hour away from New York City. Growing up we didn’t go to New York City, we went to “the” city. One of the first times that I vividly remember going to “the” city was at Christmas time. I recall the twinkling lights and the ornate Christmas trees. There were magical window displays in every window pointing the way to Christmas. I was utterly surrounded by Christmas splendor. I marveled at how bright and beautiful everything looked. It truly looked like a place magnificent enough to welcome a king in majesty. I will never forget those images from that experience. 

As an adult sometimes I get stuck on the opulence of the season that I experienced so long ago in New York. I want my home to be decorated with the latest styles on Pinterest and my gifts to be wrapped just so. I want to attend all of the events with my family from the light displays to the Nutcracker and everything in between. I want to have family pictures taken, attend all of the holiday school functions and still bake cookies by the dozen. I often miss the power of the Advent season because I am so deep in preparation for a secular Christmas. I allow the busyness to overtake me and I forget to open my eyes and heart to the real meaning of Advent.

In 2018, Pope Francis said, "Advent invites us to a commitment to vigilance, looking beyond ourselves, expanding our mind and heart in order to open ourselves up to the needs of people, of brothers and sisters, and to the desire for a new world.” This statement challenges my visions of that first Christmas in “the" city. Instead of preparing just my home this Christmas, I am trying to prepare my heart. 

Thankfully at St. Patrick the community always inspires me and helps me grow deeper in faith. I see parishioners meeting in the parking lot as they prepare to go to André House to serve dinner. As I watch the speed in which the giving trees are emptied or how there is a line for Adopt-a-Family l am humbled and challenged to go deeper in opening myself to the needs of others. On Monday nights, I watch countless adults and teens come to minister at ROCK45 and EDGE to share faith with a new generation in the spirit of accompaniment. 

This season, I am working hard to stay connected to my fellow man instead of my to-do list. I am trying to stay dialed in to the prayer and expectation of Advent. I am practicing waiting instead of falling into the hectic rush of the holiday season. As a family we are considering ways we can bring the hope of Advent to all those we meet. Maybe the magic and splendor that I first experienced in “the" city can be shared from the heart. 

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Sharon Fabyanic
Director of Youth Formation
ext. 204