An Advent Story

Two of Bob’s female coworkers were told to decorate the office and grounds for Christmas. It was a big task and would take several days. On the third day, one of them said, “I can’t believe I’m doing this! I didn’t sign up for this f*cking job!” Later, the other woman told Bob, “I have a real objection to putting up Christmas decorations in November. I hate Christmas.” 

It was a stressful time for Bob as well. After work, he went to the daycare to pick up his little girl, Suzy, and had a long, frustrating talk with the owner. When he and Suzy got home, he had to bring in the empty garbage can, take out more garbage, pick up the fliers that had fallen on the patio, check the oil in his car’s engine, top up the anti-freeze and bring in the mail, his lunch box, office shoes and attaché case. While he worked, he let Suzy play outside. It was cold and already pretty dark. Half way through Bob’s chores, Suzy was pointing to the stars. “Look Daddy! Look!” she exclaimed. Bob looked at the stars sparkling in the black sky. The white light from the half-moon contrasted with the bleak darkness. Very gentle, translucent clouds drifted by on an invisible wind. “What an awesome sight!” he thought. 

Once inside, Bob had lots more to do. He gave Suzy a bath, helped her put on her pajamas, made her a snack, helped her brush her teeth and put her to bed. “I love you Daddy,” Suzy said, smiling. Later, Bob’s wife, Mary, came home. “Since you were so good tonight,” she said, “I’ve brought you a present. Close your eyes and open your mouth.” Mary put the most delicious piece of chocolate into his mouth. The kind with raisins and nuts mixed in. Bob opened his eyes and looked into hers. They were filled with love. “I really am blessed,” he thought.

There was a time, not so long ago, when the beautiful night sky, Bob’s adorable daughter and his wife’s kind act would not have given him much joy. At that time, he believed that his responsibilities, work and problems were to blame. Now, he realized that there was a deeper reason. For many years, Bob had been addicted to pornography. It had become his only source of intense pleasure. He had done some research and had learned that this compulsive behaviour had caused him to gradually become desensitized to everyday pleasures, irritable, anxious and depressed.

However, for the past year, Bob had prayed more and had sinned a lot less. It was very difficult at first and not pleasant, but he had learned to avoid impure thoughts and behaviours. Gradually, by turning away from sin, he was beginning to experience real pleasure. The joy he now so often felt reminded him of his early childhood. His heart, now being purified, was becoming a manger, ready to welcome its Saviour. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,” he thought.

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