Advent: A Continuous Reminder of the Call to Prepare


Sometimes I feel like most of my thoughts are consumed by waiting rather than preparing. To wait is to “stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or until something else happens.” As a child, I sat at my desk waiting, watching the clock and counting down mentally the minutes left until the end of the school day. In high school, I spent four years waiting until college. Now, I wait for the weekend, or a lunch date with a friend, and just about anything else I am looking forward to in the future (near and far). For many years, I often thought of Advent, the season of the liturgical year preceding Christmas, as a time of waiting. Many years, I considered Advent that dreaded time I had to get through before the good food, fun songs, family reunions, and, of course, Santa arrived. And for many years, that’s exactly what it was because that’s how I approached it. However, reflecting on the past few Advents, I’ve come to appreciate it not as a time to wait, but a time to prepare, or make ready, the coming of Christ into the world.

In my experience, one of the best ways on the Hilltop to prepare during Advent is through our annual Lessons and Carols celebration. Lessons and Carols is a way of celebrating Advent through various scripture readings and Advent songs of preparation, featuring the Dahlgren Contemporary Choir, Georgetown University Chapel Choir, and the Georgetown University Gospel Choir. As a member of the Chapel Choir, it has been a great privilege to be a part of this celebration for the past two years. This past December, we were reminded throughout the course of the evening to prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of our Lord rather than sitting idly and waiting until December 25th. We reflected on what his coming means in our lives, our faith, and our world.

Participating truly drove home the importance of preparation. Our choir prepared throughout the semester for this one night. Songs were selected well in advance, additional rehearsals were scheduled, and we practiced the same note over and over if we had to–and that’s just my experience. There are many hands that put the night together, including the other choirs, directors, musicians, readers, the presider, ushers, and everyone else involved. The celebration does not by any means just happen, much like the birth of Christ did not just happen. People looked forward to the coming of Christ for generations, and figures like Mary and Joseph were making preparations long before the Son of God entered our world. Our choirs did not pick up new music the night of Lessons and Carols and sing. We were active anticipants, just like the characters of the nativity story.

Even though the Advent season has passed, I think the call to prepare remains. While it is tempting to want to sit back and wait for the next big thing to happen, I want to challenge myself to be active in the moment. How can I prepare my heart and mind for whatever comes next? And more importantly, how can I cherish the moment of the journey I am on? I encourage us all to carry these lessons with us, preparing ourselves for the future, while reflecting on the significance of the present moment. My favorite memory of the night was our final song, where all three choirs joined together along with everyone in attendance, swaying back and forth, clapping our hands, and preparing our hearts in song by exclaiming, The glory of the Lord shall be revealed!–what a beautiful thought to carry in our hearts at all times.

Written by Alexis Larios, C ‘18