Second Sunday of Advent
As the Fall semester is quickly coming to an end, I have been working diligently with other USD faculty members, staff, and administrators to ensure that each of our students will successfully finish this semester. I am amazed at how well we work as a community to provide the academic, spiritual, and psychosocial support that our students need to best prepare for their final exams.
Just as our students need time and support to prepare for and successfully complete their final exams, the members of our Christian faith community also need time to reflect on how to best prepare for the Nativity of the Lord. On this second Sunday of Advent, I invite you to set aside some quiet time for honest reflection on the ways in which you have prepared for Christmas. Are you spiritually and/or psychologically ready for Christmas? If so, then I would encourage you to continue your faith practices. But if you are not quite ready for Christmas, I encourage you to reflect on what would need to happen in order for you to be or feel ready. Just as you would come up with a plan to successfully prepare for a final exam or a looming deadline, I encourage you to create a plan to successfully prepare for Christmas. Are there certain rituals that you do on your own or with your loved ones that will help you prepare during this season of Advent? Perhaps you will feel more ready when you light the second candle on your Advent wreath and have time to reflect on the theme of peace. Or maybe it will help you to think about the symbols reflected on your Jesse tree, as inspired by today’s Old Testament reading. For some of us, it is not just the traditions of our faith but a real self-examination through repentance that will help us to feel more prepared. Today’s Gospel reading about John the Baptist’s call to repentance may provide some wisdom on the need to create an honest self-examination of our lives.
As you prepare for the Nativity of our Lord, please remember that the faculty, staff, administrators, and students are so blessed that you are part of the USD community. We wish you and your family a special holiday season filled with peace and hope.
-Jennifer Zwolinski, Ph.D.,Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences