Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Sonja Corbitt

12/17/2010 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (

What are we preparing for? We need Advent to help straighten the way, to teach us to slow down and savor the coming of Christmas.

As I raced through Advent, I was missing the point. Hurrying to accomplish, scrambling to tick items off the list, racing everywhere, rushing to get more stuff. It all reveals our modern focus has become terribly askew. What are we preparing for? We need Advent to help straighten the way, to teach us to slow down and savor the coming of Christmas.


By Sonja Corbitt

Catholic Online (

12/17/2010 (4 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Advent

NASHVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - "Prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight in the desert a highway for God. Every valley must be filled in; every mountain and hill leveled."

I am a legend. Of sorts. My notoriety as a motor vehicle operator is a well-acknowledged fact even to my neighbors, friends and extended family. Five years ago I shocked them all when I blew up my husband's cherished '78 4×4, nicknamed "The Beast." I tried to start it after he had removed the carburetor (who knew?!) on the windiest day on record for years.

Sooner than the time it took to open the hood, it was engulfed in flames high enough to be seen ten miles away, and required several bemused firemen and their screaming trucks to put it out. My hand-held fire extinguisher was utterly impotent, and I lost an eyebrow.

Although I was not the first to do so, a riding lawn mower with a sticky gear shift somehow landed upside down at the bottom of our creek while under my control. Thinking it was in reverse, I gunned the accelerator to back away from the edge of a hill and found myself soaring over the precipice while negotiating a graceless leap off the back of the mower.

While I managed to avoid being pinned to the creek bed, I limped home dripping algae and stinking fish water with a crayfish clinging to my shirt tail. Really.

According to my three-year-old son, "policemen give Mama mail," and last summer my eleven-year-old asked my father, a retired state patrolman, why he stopped at the stop sign at the end of our road since his mother never does. It is for these reasons I was the butt of all the hilarity at our last family gathering.

I suppose my husband and oldest son were looking for moral support as they related my foibles in great comedic detail, and insisted they have worn out the grip handles on the door frame of my car. We laughed till we cried, because everyone knows I get it from my mother, who gets it from hers!

I recently backed over a boat that had been surreptitiously parked directly behind my car. It wasn't until my husband returned home from a fishing trip that I wondered if the leak that almost sunk his boat was my fault. When we first moved to the country, I got three speeding tickets in one year, but only because the highway is like an interstate out here.

Missing the Point

Because I am a firm believer in justice, I have never tried to get out of receiving a speeding ticket, and have, therefore, been to traffic school four times for tickets in two counties and two cities. My father was a career state patrolman, and I know exactly how many miles an hour over the speed limit I can drive without being ticketed, and many other very useful items of safety trivia.

This makes my record all the more surprising, and in response, I resorted to setting my cruise control on the highway and driving to town exclusively on back roads whenever I can.

So you can imagine my bewilderment when, recently, I found myself signing another little piece of mail pushed through the car window. While I prayed for another warning, I thanked God that my oldest son was not in the car to tell on me when I got home, but God's will was clear through a city cop hiding behind the rise of a hill and holding a hand-held radar detector on a lightly traveled back road. It is Advent, after all.

How many times has God attempted to correct this undisciplined and even dangerous behavior in my life? I know the answer is many times - many tickets, many warnings, many trips to traffic school that defrayed ballooning insurance rates, many jokes and sideways glances regarding my driving. As I drove away from the scene of the crime, the Lord asked me if something awful would have to happen before I finally took this issue seriously.

Haste implies confusion, lack of order, and impatience of slow growth, doesn't it? It mistakes ambition for inspiration. Ever seeking to substitute energy for a clearly defined plan, hurry never realizes that slow, careful foundation work is the quickest in the end. Instead, it throws truth, thoroughness, poise and generosity to the sacrificial winds. If we allow it, Advent will smooth the rough, pitted paths of urgency and over-commitment into peace and rest.

The Royal Highway of Holiness

A season of waiting, reflection, and repentance, Advent is a deliberate, dawdling month when the Scriptures prescribe filling in the valleys and leveling the mountains of our lives to make the way easier for the certain coming of the Savior. With attention toward avoiding steep pitches, Advent must tunnel through sin and level out valleys of despair. Hurry, the root of my driving sin, must be bulldozed. Especially now, when I am caught in the whirlwind of Christmas preparation.

Advent is an object lesson of perfect law, perfect plan, perfect order, and perfect method. It is a divine protest against hurry, against doing over being, against the modern myopic focus on producing and getting things. It bridges our deep fear that we won't accomplish much, and our despair when we no longer can. It straightens the winding road of too little prayer, and too much stuff to do.

Advent teaches us to wait. Contemplate. Repent. Savor. It illustrates that everything great in life is the product of slow growth. The greater, higher, and nobler the work, the slower is its growth, and the surer its lasting success.

Advent teaches us to accept slow growth, if it must be slow, and to know the results must come, just as we accept the long, lonely hours of Advent night with absolute assurance that the burden of patience must bring the dawn of salvation. This is hope, and it is the liturgy of the Church to all of us for today, this week, right now. Where has God repeatedly attempted to speak to you about something you consider trivial?

What crooked habit do you cherish that cries out for straightening? What small matter in your life has become a huge obstacle to Christ's coming to you this Christmas? What sin are you laughing off as a quirk of your personality that needs to be bulldozed? Shouldn't the valley of Christmas depression be filled in?

"Prepare ye the way of the Lord" and pray for a new experience of His coming. For the peace, rest and joy of Christmas travels one way - through the solitary Royal Highway of Advent Holiness.


Sonja Corbitt is a contributing writer for Catholic Online - sonjacorbitt(at)


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Living Faith

Come together this Thanksgiving with a beautiful prayer Watch

Image of Each year thousands of families celebrate Thanksgiving, but make the food their priority. This year, make God and all He has given us your priority.


Each year, millions of people across the United States rush to grocery stores and prepare to visit their families in celebration of Thanksgiving. Visiting loved ones and enjoying a specially prepared meal are both wonderful parts of celebrating, but don't forget to ... continue reading

Pope Francis: Jesus is weeping over a WORLD AT WAR

Image of Pope Francis mourns a world at war.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has made it clear, Jesus is weeping over a world at war. It has become obvious that this is a time of extreme danger for all people around the globe. No population is safe from terror. The threats aren't just from terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al ... continue reading

Oxford to begin study of Catholic relics. Here are 5 macabre relics people venerate from around the world Watch

Image of The skull of St. Thomas Aquinas.


The veneration of relics in the Catholic Church has been one of the most debated practices in the faith. While such veneration is actually common in the human experience -even Communists did it with the body of Lenin, the veneration of relics in the Church is the ... continue reading

Nine bishops, one abbot, dine and dialogue with peace activists Watch

Image of

By Tony Magliano

During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops' fall assembly in Baltimore, several bishops and one abbot, decided to skip dinner at the downtown Marriott Waterfront hotel, and walked several blocks to an inner city parish to share a simple meal with about 30 peace ... continue reading

Woman turns her cancer over to Jesus Christ - survives, thrives Watch

Image of Heather King shares her struggles in her new memoir,

By Mary Rezac, CNA/EWTN News

Heather King never cared much for doctors. Los Angeles, CA (CNA) - It's an attitude she partly inherited from her mother, "who classified ginger ale as a medicine, considered Novocain a snobbish extravagance" and somehow managed to avoid a visit to the doctor's office ... continue reading

Top 5 ways to find joy Watch

Image of Find happiness in spite of the darkness.


It is easy to fall prey to depression and sadness with everything that has been going on in the world these days. The trick to maintaining a positive attitude and living in the joy God has for us is as easy as following five simple steps. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading

Want to lose the War on Christmas? Surrender Advent Watch

Image of What millions of Christians do a day after expressing thanks for what they already have.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Want to lose the War on Christmas? Surrender Advent. We Christians have gone out of our minds, arguing about Starbucks cups and greeters who (correctly) say "Happy Holidays" in place of "Merry Christmas." In all the bustle of the season, we have forgotten that Advent ... continue reading

Cardinal Sarah releases new book, 'God or Nothing,' on civilization's fall from grace Watch

Image of Without God, the cardinal said,

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

At the presentation of his new book, Cardinal Robert Sarah said that Western society is rapidly forgetting God, and expressed his desire to help people rediscover him through both prayer and witness. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "I would like to help people ... continue reading

Holy Door in St. Peter's basilica to open for first time in 15 years for Holy Year of Mercy Watch

Image of The rite of the opening of the Holy Door is intended to symbolically illustrate the idea that the Church's faithful are offered an

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Hidden since the Jubilee of 2000, the Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica was revealed Tuesday as the brick wall covering it was removed in anticipation of the Holy Year of Mercy launching next month. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the ... continue reading

5 powerful Bible verses you need when fear and terror strike Watch

Image of


Fear is a powerful thing. Fear can completely cripple the body and soul. Since the terrifying Paris terrorist attacks last week the news has been full of death, terrorists, murder and fear. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Those not in power are left wondering ... continue reading

All Living Faith News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • President likens Syrian refugees to pilgrims on Mayflower in ...
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video
  • St. Catherine Laboure: Saint of the Day for Saturday, November 28, 2015
  • Prayer For Courage HD Video
  • BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big ...
  • Daily Readings for Saturday, November 28, 2015
  • 'Black Friday' leaving bruises as shoppers trample each other for ...

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Daniel 7:2-14
2 Daniel said, 'I have been seeing visions in the night. I saw that the ... Read More

Psalm, Daniel 3:75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81
75 Bless the Lord, mountains and hills, praise and glorify him for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:29-33
29 And he told them a parable, 'Look at the fig tree and indeed every ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 27th, 2015 Image

St. James Intercisus
November 27: James was a favorite of King Yezdigerd I of ... Read More