Growing up, Advent was always closely associated with Christmas, getting presents, decorating the house, and making Christmas cookies. But once I was old enough to realize that Advent was actually the preparation, the few weeks leading up to Christmas, the traditions surrounding the two seemed to naturally separate. Advent provides us a time to stop and reflect on the things and people that are important to us. We give thanks for the gifts God has given us and the experiences we have had in the last year. Most importantly it gives us time to spend with loved ones in anticipation for Jesus’ birth. Upon coming to Gonzaga I realized that some of the traditions like decorating the tree and making Christmas treats would have to be missed. I was no longer at home in Seattle and these traditions would have to be taken care of by my parents and younger sister. Though this was a difficult realization for me at first, I soon realized that the actual decorating was not the most important part of Advent. Rather it was the opportunity to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. I have instead adapted these traditions while here at school. I find myself participating in several events leading up to Christmas to fill the vacancy I was feeling. I have made traditions with my friends here, going ice skating downtown, making cookies, and spending time together as the snow comes down outside. I also take this time to attend things like reconciliation services, faith sharing groups, and Mass on weekdays. I feel a special inclination to attend these types of events during this holiday season. In my hectic day to day schedule it is nice to have some time set aside for the specific reason of prayer and reflection. These resources are so readily available here at Gonzaga, and this is something I’m so thankful for. I can simply walk two blocks from my apartment to arrive at the student chapel to reflect and pray. The chapel provides a quiet and calm place to gather my thoughts and truly reflect on the things I find to be most important. This time of Advent allows me to experience my faith in ways different from the rest of the year, and for this reason it is one of my favorite times of the year.
Anna Sullivan ‘11
University Ministry, Murdock Intern