After 8 a.m. Mass  on the Second  Sunday of Advent, a parishioner came into the rectory and commented on a part of the Sunday homily. Sharon said: “Father, you said something most interesting this morning. All the Christmas frenzy and going about is not  evil, not bad, not awful.” It shows how embedded Christ is in things even if not  acknowledged. It was an Aha! moment. A grace! A blessing.

We hear about a war on Christmas. We hear about Christmas trees not being Christmas trees, but holiday trees. Yes. We hear “Happy Holidays.” Yes. We hear of winter pageants rather than Nativity plays. Yes. Perhaps we might take a second look. All this might result in a Jeremiad. A Jeremiad is a sermon of lament and loss. However, in the run-up to Christmas, there is more going on under the surface, under the appearances than first we might recognize. At first glance we miss much; there is too much to absorb and take in.

When we think about all things Christmas, we remember that the first Christmas was quite messy. Things were not tidy. Things did not proceed on a master plan. The innkeeper was overbooked and had no reservation from Trip Advisor. Joseph was not glued into the plan. The Magi were lost. Few recognized the birth that would change history.

There are many different Advents. Ad-venting is a challenge, if we are locked into one frame of reference.

All the shopping and decorating, gifting and caroling, visiting and eating are blessings in their own way. If there was no Nativity, if there was no birth, would everything that is happening around us be happening at all?

Advent is too precious to waste on lamentation.  Ad-venting is a blessing that has many forms. Happy Ad-venting.

Rev. John P. Rosson is pastor of St. Mary’s Our Lady of the Lake in Cooperstown.