I've tried without success to recall anything of significance about the Advent or Christmas seasons of my twenties. The Quiet Husband and I were married, and in graduate and law school, and then we embarked upon our careers, working in large downtown firms and returning to our first suburban home in the evenings. We decorated Christmas trees in our apartments and in our first house, and we spent time with family over the holidays ~ but I'm not sure that we darkened the doors of a church or discussed God in any way until the end of that decade of our lives. It wasn't that we were materialistic or culture-bound ~ we simply were not people of faith.
Yesterday's O Antiphon calls Jesus Lord. It seems odd to me, now, that there should have been a decade of my life in which the idea of calling and following someone as Lord was entirely foreign to me. Not surprising ~ most of my closest family and friends are in the same boat today. But odd, in that, slowly but persistently, Jesus Christ has become so the center and focus of my life that it is difficult for me to imagine it otherwise.
Everything back then was about work. Clothes, house, friends, vacations ~ everything revolved around work.
If I look back at that decade with a view toward God in all things, I would say that, insofar as my own life was concerned, God was providing me with many opportunities to prepare intellectually for the call that would become mine three decades later.
I wish that I had been able to notice, back then, and prepare in other ways as well. I wish that work had not been Lord. I wish that those years had not been so barren of any knowledge of the God who sustains the universe.
I find that I am envious of those several of my college students who have written papers and emails stating that their introduction-to-religion course has challenged their complacency about their faith, caused them to realize they do not know nearly as much as they once they thought they did, generated an appreciation for other faith traditions and, in some cases, sent them scurrying off to make appointments with ministers and priests for further exploration.
I was nothing at all like they are. And I am much the poorer for it.