If time is not filled by a present gifted with meaning, the waiting runs the risk of becoming unbearable; if something is expected, but at this moment there is nothing, namely, if the present is empty, every instant that passes seems exaggeratedly long, and the waiting is transformed into a weight that is too heavy because the future is totally uncertain. When, instead, time is gifted with meaning and we perceive in every instant something specific and valuable, then the joy of waiting makes the present more precious.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us live the present intensely, when we already have the gifts of the Lord, let us live it projected to the future, a future full of hope. The Christian Advent thus becomes an occasion to reawaken in ourselves the true meaning of waiting, returning to the heart of our faith which is the mystery of Christ, the Messiah awaited for long centuries and born in the poverty of Bethlehem. Coming among us, he has brought us and continues to offer us the gift of his love and of his salvation. Present among us, he speaks to us in many ways: in sacred Scripture, in the liturgical year, in the saints, in the events of daily life, in the whole of creation, which changes in aspect if he is behind it or if it is obfuscated by the mist of an uncertain origin and an uncertain future. In turn, we can speak to him, present to him the sufferings that afflict us, impatience, the questions that spring from the heart. We are certain that he always hears us! And if Jesus is present, there is no time deprived of meaning and void. If he is present, we can continue to wait also when others can no longer give us their support, even when the present is exhausting.
Dear friends, Advent is the time of the presence and the expectation of the eternal. Precisely for this reason it is, in a particular way, the time of joy, of an internalized joy, that no suffering can erase. Joy because of the fact that God became a child. This joy, invisibly present in us, encourages us to walk with confidence. Model and support of this profound joy is the Virgin Mary, through whom the Child Jesus has been given to us. May she, faithful disciple of her Son, obtain for us the grace to live this liturgical time vigilant and diligent in waiting. Amen. - Pope Benedict via Amy Welborn's blog
It is interesting that a technological society must constantly be reminded of its need to feel and experience what is happening to it in the present moment. It is not likely that you would need to remind a farmer in China that he must “become conscious of his sensations,” because his daily life is one very much in contact with the world around him. But, perhaps, we must remind ourselves because so much of our livelihood – our use of the computer and television, our processed food – is devoid of a sensation that satisfies. This also relates back to a common thread of yours, Amy: the Kindle, Nook, and eReader! These electronic versions of book fail to give us the sensory stimulation we require in order to be healthy persons. Although there is nothing categorically wrong with them, it must be noted that we do need to touch things in order to be mentally healthy. - commenter ndawg on "Charlotte was Both"
Now I thought the blogosphere saved all the big flamewars for Lent, because fasting makes us cranky and because that way we could repent right away. But folks are flaming now... so I guess people are taking Advent more seriously as a penitential season these days. ;) - Maureen commenting on Sancta Sanctis
We must allow for the disappearance of palpable joy. Hence even Christ on the cross did not recite out loud the joyful parts of the psalm that he quoted as to its dire phrase (“my God, my God… why hast thou abandoned me”) so as to show us that joy in its palpable form can be very out of place. Otherwise He would have included joyful comments from the same psalm on the cross and He did not. - Bill Bannon on Amy's blog
Some people think liturgy is our gift to God. If we go to church on Sunday, we're doing God a real big favor. But our liturgy is God's gift to us, not ours to him. St. Paul is quite clear that the purpose of the liturgy is not what we do at the celebration itself. That is simply the expression and nourishment of what is supposed to be the "liturgy of life," the way we live in the world. That's why St. Paul never uses words such as sacrifice, priesthood, or worship except to describe the life we live after the model of Christ. "It is not I who live," he writes, "but Christ who lives in me." That's the mystery the liturgy is all about. - Fr. Robert Taft S.J. via Tom of Disputations
[Scott Hahn is nothing short of a phenomenon, a sort of one man counter-assault on the faux Biblical studies hoisted upon us by a liberal zeitgeist in the ugly fallout from Vatican II. This guy also honestly believes in Inerrancy. The kind confirmed by "Providentissimus Deus" … Yes, way! Hahn is so congenially and over-the-top orthodox -- and so beyond what many have hoped or prayed for -- that his sales prove readers ready to forgive even his unending stream of painful puns. - Joe Martin via "The Pertinacious Papist"
The secular view of Christmas which I held to most of my life is nice and cozy, filled with plenty of traditions, and strong on family...Though this answer is also missing something. G.K. Chesterton once quipped about his friend George Bernard Shaw that he was like Venus de Milo in that "all there is of him is admirable." - Jeff Miller