Advent: a new dad’s reflection

November 22, 2010

–this is the manuscript for the article sent to St. Mary’s newspaper: Tomorrow, there might be some differences in the text due to Editor’s editing. A better English article can be read from Tomorrow :p (I seldom check my grammar) —

There can be many “advent” in someone’s life. Advent simply means “coming”, and waiting for someone to come is part of our day to day experience. As a newly wed, Maya and I had the chance to experience the advent of our first born, Francis, into our lives.  As Catholics are entering the Advent Season, we would like to share a bit of our experience in waiting for the coming of our baby Francis, and how that taught us to wait for the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

When my wife told me that she was expecting, we were so excited, I was so happy to hear the news. I still remember what I did, I hugged my wife, kissed her, and then we prayed giving thanks to God for His gift. Francis was really a gift! My wife’s friend who was a medical doctor told her how the conception and formation of baby is like a miracle.  We didn’t do any miracle, God did, we simply participate in that miraculous work.

God did a miracle two thousand years ago when he became human.  I used to wonder why God chose to come to us in a human form, even to come as a baby. He could choose to come in other forms like fire, earthquake, or some apparition where people will have no doubt at all but to obey him. But he didn’t.  I then realized that he wants to be a gift. By being a baby, he wants to be our possession, our treasure, and our joy. In short he wants our love.  What a risky decision! By making himself as a vulnerable gift, we can choose to reject him. He knew this, and yet he chose to come to us as a baby, to be a gift for you and for me.

Advent, then, is a time to accept that gift. It is a time of gratitude, a time of giving thanks. Advent prepares us to welcome The Gift the way he deserves. Advent prepares our heart to have room big enough for God and it taught us to treasure God once again.

I remember one day I told one of my friend about the good news that my wife was already expecting. When he heard that, he uttered a prophecy (or maybe a warning), “Your life shall be changed forever.” What he meant was that my life will be centred around my baby. I was laughing when I heard that, but I knew it was true. These days, after my baby was born, Francis has taken an important part in our lives. We made a lot of sacrifices for him, and we joyfully do so. Our life indeed has been changed, and for the good.

Isn’t that what is supposed to happen with our Advent season also? The coming of Jesus should be a life changing experience for us. Jesus should be the centre of our lives. We should no longer live for ourselves but for Jesus. Otherwise, it is meaningless to call him Lord.  And this should be a chance for us to pour out our love to Jesus, to make sacrifices for him, and we should make those sacrifices joyfully!

Let me conclude this sharing with one final story.  When my baby was finally born, I hold him tight and carried him. I looked at him, and my heart was filled with love. I then kissed him to express my love. One of the best thing that a child can do is to arouse love in the parent’s heart. That is what Jesus did on the Christmas day in Mary’s and Joseph’s hearts. He invites people to love him. And that is what he continues to do until today. He arouses love in our heart for him and for the Father. He taught us what it means to be a child of God. Advent helped me to realize what it means to be a child God. I learn that we can arouse love in our Father’s heart and make him smile. And we can do that by simply being what we are called to be, a gift to others. We can be a gift to our children and our wife by spending time with them. St. John said we can love God by loving one another. Indeed, we can even be a gift to our heavenly Father, by being a gift to the people around us.