Editor's Notebook (Dec. 2023)

by Vince Dragone

As we step into December and the season of Advent, a time of spiritual waiting and preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ, I find myself grappling with the weight and wonder of fatherhood. Perhaps it’s the sacredness of this season that makes me pause and consider the example I'm setting for my three young children.

Let's face it, kids have an uncanny ability to mimic what they see, especially when it comes to their parents. The way I navigate the world, the values I uphold, the respect I give to others — all these are silently, yet profoundly, teaching my children what it means to be a human and a Christian. Advent, with its focus on virtues like hope, peace, joy and love, presents a unique opportunity for me as a father to embody these spiritual principles.

I’ve learned that the best way to teach my kids about Advent is to genuinely experience it myself. When I light the candles on the Advent wreath, it's not just a family ritual; it's a personal commitment to bring more light into this world. When we read the Scriptures, it's not just about recounting the historical events that led to the birth of Jesus; it's about allowing that living Word to shape our lives today.

My wife and I make a conscious effort to include our children in these spiritual practices. Yet I'm aware that my own actions during this season will speak louder than any biblical story or Advent calendar can. If I want my children to understand that this time is about more than just Christmas lists and decorations, I must show them through my actions. Whether it’s through acts of kindness, moments of prayer or simply taking the time to be present with them, I want my actions to echo the love that Christ brought into the world.

As we prepare to say goodbye to 2023, I reflect not just on the past year but also on the promise of the year to come. I enter 2024 with a sense of anticipation, akin to the Advent season itself, and a quiet confidence that God will continue to guide and provide for my family and me.

So, as the Advent candles burn and the countdown to Christmas begins, I am filled with a newfound sense of purpose. I am not just waiting for Christ; I am striving to be more Christ-like — for my own spiritual growth and as a living example for my children. They say kids don’t come with a manual, but perhaps this Advent season, I’m writing my own, etching lessons not just on paper but on the hearts of those little ones who look up to me.

May your Advent season be a time of meaningful reflection, spiritual growth and joyful anticipation for the coming of our Savior.