Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Running Away From Advent

By LORRAINE V. MURRAY, Commentary | Published November 25, 2010


Yes, Lord?

What’s that you’re busy with now?

Me? Oh, I’m checking Facebook, Lord, that’s all.

Didn’t you tell me the other day you thought that was a waste of time?

Uh, yeah, I guess I did.

What are you going to do after you check Facebook?

I have a column to write, but I’m … er … going to the mall.


I don’t know, Lord, I just feel antsy today. A little blue.

Have you been over to see me lately in the adoration chapel?

Uh, no … I’ve been kind of busy—and I know what you’re going to say! You’re going to say, “You’ve been checking Facebook and going shopping, but you’re too busy to drop by and see me?”

I wasn’t going to say that, but it’s a good point.

Yeah, I know.

Well, what are you writing about?

I wanted to write about Advent, about how it should be a time of spiritual preparation for Christmas, rather than a time of shopping, baking, writing cards, going to parties …

And what’s stopping you from writing that?

Er, well, I guess I wanted to go shopping and look for Christmas cards and maybe a dress.

Silence on the other end.

Lord, please don’t think badly of me. It’s just that it’s hard writing about a topic most people hate to hear about. I mean, most folks I know don’t want some preachy message about Advent being a time of fasting and prayer. Many of them are parents, and if they don’t do some Christmas stuff now, like shopping and baking, there won’t be any time later—and the kids will be disappointed.

So you’re afraid your Advent message might be somehow uncomfortable or difficult?

Well, I don’t want to seem like Scrooge! After all, I don’t have kids, so it’s different for me. I mean, if I want to spend my time during Advent in spiritual preparation for Christmas, I can.

So why aren’t you?

Why aren’t I what, Lord?

Why aren’t you getting ready spiritually, if, as you say, you have the time?

I feel kind of scattered, Lord.

I know that, Lorraine. I know you very well.

So what should I do? Should I just be a major party-pooper and put on sackcloth and ashes? Go to my room and refuse to go to any Christmas parties?

That seems rather extreme, doesn’t it, Lorraine?

Yeah, I think so. But what should I do?

For one, you can stop running away from things.

Running away, Lord?

Lorraine, when you get angry or sad, don’t you go shopping?


And don’t you usually also go to Dairy Queen—and eat a medium chocolate-dipped cone?

I didn’t realize you saw that.

I’m always with you, Lorraine, even at Dairy Queen.

(Big sigh)

This Advent, why don’t you run in a different direction?

What do you mean?

How about spending a little more time with me?

You mean praying more, don’t you?

You can also visit me in the adoration chapel.

I get so fidgety, Lord, sitting there doing nothing.

Bring a book. I don’t mind if you read something.

OK, Lord, I’ll do that. Is there anything else?

Don’t get all tied up in knots about making Advent and Christmas perfect. The first Christmas wasn’t perfect at all. It was pretty cold in that stable and uncomfortable too. And, Lorraine, always remember that I love you.

Yes, Lord.

Oh, and one more thing: Don’t feel so guilty about shopping and going to Dairy Queen. Just don’t overdo it.

OK, I won’t. And Lord?

Yes, Lorraine?

I love you too.

Lorraine and Jef Murray will talk about their respective vocations as writer and illustrator—and how we all can use creativity in the service of God—at 7 p.m. on Dec. 3 in Kenny Hall at the Cathedral of Christ the King. Readers may e-mail them at