Core Decorum: Advent

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Illustration courtesy of Cecilia Lang.

Ah, December. What beauties you bring. 

Dropping temperatures accompany the crunch of leaves on the paths through the Art Village and signal the imminent end of the semester. 

As students stress about finals, they hold out hope as the end is in clear sight. Even if you don’t like the cold, you are sure to love that about December.  

More important than all of these things previously mentioned, for us Christians, December marks the beginning of the season of Advent.

Now, all UD students ought to have a little bit of Latin in the back of their heads, especially as it relates to the liturgical cycle of the year. Just as a bit of a refresher, Advent comes from the Latin words “ad” and “venire,” which means, “to” and “come,” respectively. 

Advent celebrates the coming birth of Christ. It is a time of year specifically set aside for us to prepare for the start of something new and glorious. 

Yet, this time of year is also marked by many endings for us as students. 

Each final that we take, for which most of us are undoubtedly unprepared, marks the ending of a semester-long journey that has likely affected us deeply in some way or another. Another accomplishment, another set of credits registered to your account, another grade and another ending is what we end up with, and it all happens during Advent, the season of preparing for the beginning. 

We pack our bags and say tearful goodbyes to our friends, anticipating the time that we will meet again. 

To look even more broadly, this time of year is accompanied by the baring of the trees, the browning of the grass and nature’s death-like sleep of winter. 

This season of preparation for a new beginning brings many endings. 

However, perhaps that is the entire point. As humans, we are very fond of attachment and comfort. 

Advent changes all of that. 

I believe that it is only through the ending the last semester that we can truly appreciate, internalize and participate in the start of something new. 

After all, the coming of Christ should not be limited to something that happened in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago — it is meant to be something that happens every waking minute of our lives. 

Comfort and routine can blind us to the need to open ourselves up for Christ into our daily lives. It is the forceful end that accompanies this season that enables us to truly begin the next coming year anew. 

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