Maybe it’s the shortened Advent season or just this time of gifting (couldn’t be because I’m getting older and more nostalgic), but I feel the idea of having a “layaway plan” might just be the answer to help us with this year’s Advent. Whaaat? Layaway allows you to place merchandise on hold at a store, making small payments over time until it’s paid off (with a surcharge or fee). When the Great Depression was in full swing, layaway was developed to help large purchases be more affordable by breaking them down into smaller, more manageable payments. However, during the 1980s, layaway’s popularity began to wane in large part due to the rise in credit card usage.
Growing up with so many kids in the house, it seemed there was never enough money to pay all bills let alone provide for extra at Christmas. So my Mom talked my Dad into using the Kmart layaway plan when they opened it up. Even though they weren’t allowed to have the gift until it was paid off, it helped them not get caught up in the pain of the January credit card slaughtering that can happen nowadays. It’s that whole mentality of learning how to make ends meet that can help us embrace these last two weeks of Advent: preparation and planning, discipline and desiring. In order to be ready for the two parts of Advent (His Second Coming and His Nativity) this week we have the chance to prepare and plan via our Advent Cluster Communal Penance on Tuesday, December 12th (7:05 p.m.) here in our Church with our neighboring parishes. As we hear from this weekend’s readings about preparing the way of the Lord, Advent is about admitting where we have sinned by not holding onto the joy of Christmas or our Baptism. So please try to be here as we will have visiting priests present to share God’s Mercy with you (don’t forget we have Confessions before every weeknight Mass). The discipline and desire can be the tougher part of all this. I know it feels like there are too few days and so many obligations, but if we make the first need and want Jesus, the rest will follow. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen wrote: “trying to find Christmas in a world of unrest? You cannot find peace on the outside but you can find peace on the inside, by letting God do to your soul what Mary let Him do to her body, namely, let Christ be formed in you.” Celebrate daily Mass, pray the Scriptures of the daily Mass, come for the remaining nights of Compline with Benediction (9:00-9:14 p.m.) every night from now through December 23. If you keep your eyes set on Him...there’s still plenty of time to get everything done. Maranatha, Fr. Bline