On this Sunday November 21, 2021, we celebrate the second great Feastday of the Most Holy Theotokos: The Entry of the Mother of God Into the Temple.
According to tradition, Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anna, were childless and prayed fervently to the Lord to be granted a child. They vowed that they would dedicate the child to God. When Mary was born to them, they took her at the age of three to the Temple in Jerusalem, where she stayed for twelve years. She lived in the Holy of Holies under the care of the priests and the angels.
The many hymns of this day celebrate in various ways the importance of this day which lifts us up to the holiness of Mary and her spiritual preparation to receive Christ in her womb. During this Advent period our thoughts and our minds turn to Mary whose humble and silent expectation should be the model of our own expectation of the coming of the Christ child. The nearer we draw to the example of Mary through our prayer, our obedience, and our purity, the more will be formed in us He who is about to be born.
It seems as we listen to the media and television, that we are being directed to concentrate as we approach the holidays not on the birth of Christ but rather on making sure we do our Christmas shopping earlier so as not to miss out on the latest toy, gadget or high-tech innovation. We are being misdirected, for essentially, they are trying to take Christ out of our minds and replace Him with material objects.
Gifts at Christmas are part of our tradition, that is true, for even the Magi brought gifts unto the Christ child soon after His birth. But, what is sad is that Advent is the proper way of preparation for the joy of this holyday prescribed by the Church, not an exhortation or news alert by the media to prepare for Christmas by shopping two months earlier.
So, as we celebrate this great Feastday today in our Church, let us center our attention on what really matters in life. We have all come through a very difficult period of our existence these past many months, we should be giving thanks every minute every hour of our lives for God’s abundant mercies. This is how we can truly prepare ourselves for His Nativity in the flesh.