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We called them perennials: stories we knew we would cover every year – fall colors, raging waters from snowmelt, summer tourism, etc. As a journalist, these were comforting in that I always knew I could rely on them when I had nothing else. Not so comforting, however, was the perennial we covered every year around the Advent season. It was always some variation of mitigating/avoiding/beating holiday stress. Somehow we always looked forward to Christmas, yet it often turned to the most stressful time of the year, and when December 26 arrived everyone seemed happy to put the holiday season behind us, even though Christmas had just begun. In short – it’s draining.
And that’s where the story of Noah comes in. Usually when we think of him, we think of him building the ark and gathering the animals – a man at work. But just as importantly, Noah was a man who waited. For forty days and forty nights he waited through the rain. He waited 150 days as the flood covered the earth. He sent out a raven and waited for a sign of life. Then he sent out a dove and waited. Then he sent out the dove again and waited before, finally, it returned with an olive leaf – a sign of life!
During Advent, we become Noah – awaiting the coming of our Lord. Perhaps that’s the real secret to beating holiday stress. The God that remembered Noah and rescued him from the flood is the same God that tells us in the psalms to “Be still and know that I am God.”
So, like Noah, let’s be still and wait, surrounded by our families, knowing that God truly remembers us. Noah was rewarded with a sign of life. How much more are we rewarded when we receive life itself in the Christ child?
[Join the Aleteia community each day this Advent for a reflection on the journey of an Old Testament pilgrim, and how he or she is leading us to the Christ Child in this holy season. Find them all here.]