Share this story

 | By Cristina Sullivan

Advent is the Perfect Time for Reflection and Joy

Lee este artículo en español (Spanish Language Version)

I don't know if you've heard about how healthy and important it is to listen to our inner child, regardless of whether more than a decade, or 50 years, has passed since our childhood ended. If you have never done the exercise of talking to your inner child, the following questions may help you:

Did you have the opportunity to put an Advent wreath on your door when winter began? Did you sing the Posadas together with your family and were surprised to see that some normally serious and scolding adults were laughing out loud? Do you remember receiving chocolate while counting the days with the help of an Advent calendar? Have you experienced the joy of praying Christmas novenas that prepare our hearts for the arrival of the Christ child? Have you ever imagined you saw Santa’s sleigh flying through the skies?

All these cultural expressions that remain in force around us indicate, in one way or another, the arrival of Christ into the world. It was and is an event full of joy — a joy that seems never to extinguish even though millennia pass. 

But let’s get serious: all these hopes and expectations have also been a source of bitter sadness when we realize that we will never actually see a sleigh cross the skies. Saying goodbye to childhood is almost never a comfortable transition. But when we think about it, transitions from one stage or age to another are never comfortable. Even Christ had to suffer these discomforts: from the first moment of his life he had to experience how difficult it is to live in this world.

Imagine that you had to have the same childhood as Jesus. This means that your birth was in a very uncomfortable and precarious place for your mother. The only help she received was from your father, and none of the basic needs to handle a birth were covered. Furthermore, before you were one year old, your parents had to flee in the middle of the night because the authorities were looking for you to kill you. Now imagine returning to the city where your parents are from (in the case of Jesus, it was returning to Nazareth), but when you arrive no one knows who you are, and people gossip about your mother because she became pregnant with you before marriage. These are just some of the uncomfortable situations that the Holy Family had to endure because they were not rich or privileged.

All these reflections are the perfect setting for us to meditate on what is really important about Christmas. It is not the colored lights, eating exquisite chocolate every day, receiving gifts, flying through the skies on a sleigh — having, buying, possessing, competing. No, what is truly important is to celebrate that our God knows perfectly what poverty means. He knows the weight of humanity, the discomforts that each and every one of us has had to experience to a certain degree. Our God is not a God who was born in a cradle of gold. He is a God who knows how hard but also how wonderful it is to be alive.

Let’s take advantage of this Advent to meditate on our childhood, and on the childhood of Jesus, and enjoy the small things that make this time the perfect excuse to give thanks, accompany each other and remember our joy.

Cristina Umaña Sullivan is a cultural sociologist who has dedicated herself to evangelization for more than 10 years with a specialty in Theology of the Body and identity creation from the Christian perspective. Email her at