“It’s the most wonderful time of the year. With the kids jingle belling and everyone telling you “Be of good cheer,” it’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s the happiest season of all.
With those holiday greetings and happy meetings when friends come to call, it’s the happiest season of all . . . It’s the most wonderful time of the year. There’ll be much mistletoeing and hearts will be glowing when love ones are near. It’s the most wonderful time, It’s the most wonderful time, It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
You may have heard of this song before. It is among the most widely known Christmas melodies in the repertoire. Made famous by the late American singer and television variety show host, Andy Williams, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” never really disappeared from the charts. Instead, it has remained a staple of Christmas music for over fifty years since its release in 1963—and justifiably so. It conjures images of loved ones and friends, cheerful get-togethers, merry activities, and other fun associated with Christmas. The song evokes feelings of joy and anticipation that the season calls for.
But we are not yet in the Christmas Season. The Christmas Season begins on December 25th—when the universal Church celebrates the great Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord—and this year, it ends on January 8th—on the feast of the Lord’s Baptism. Instead, we are in the Season of Advent. Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. This four-week season has a two-fold character: on the one hand, it prepares the faithful Mr. Lou leads the freshmen. Sophomores gather to brainstorm ideas. Dr. Voell converses with the juniors. Seniors gather for a night of sharing. for the festive celebration of the Incarnation. On the other, it invites them to look forward to Christ’s coming again in glory at the last day.
Like Christmas, Advent is a season of joy and anticipation. Some countries and cultures have particular ways of observing this season. In the Philippines, for example, Advent is marked by the celebration of the Simbang Gabi—the early morning Novena Masses, which commence on the 16th of December and culminate on the 24th. In Mexico and in many Hispanic parishes here in the US, Advent is observed with the celebrations of the Fiesta Guadalupana and the Posadas. All of these celebrations bring people together and unite them in prayer and in joyful hope as they anticipate the coming of
As we enter more deeply into Advent, I invite us to take a moment to reflect on its meaning and examine how we are preparing ourselves for the Lord’s coming. The Prophet Isaiah and John the Baptist call us to “prepare the way of the Lord.” We can certainly do that by opening our hearts; by ridding it of all malice and vices; by being kind, loving, and generous; by being people of hope and “good cheer.” If we learn to do that, then we will surely make this the happiest season and the most wonderful time of the year.