First place! It has been many years since we Redskins fans can say that our beloved team is first in our division in early December. And, we are actually surging, with some analysts saying that we are playing our best football of the season. This is exciting! Now, I know, it is possible that this can go south, especially with the Cowboys coming to town tomorrow night. We all might be calling therapists Tuesday morning…! But, things do feel differently now, and we are starting to believe that the culture on our team is changing. We have more talent now (thanks to our new General Manager), and a coaching system that utilizes the players well. No matter what happens in December, we are an improved team on the rise!
What strikes me most for the improvement is their preparation. They have said that their practices during the last few weeks have improved dramatically. Practice makes perfect, right! They have practiced harder with more intensity, and with a focus on correcting mistakes. These things should have been there all season, of course, but it takes time to kick bad habits. This has been a losing franchise for so long in part because they have had losing habits. But, that has changed now. Their preparation has been stronger which has led to significantly better performances two of the past three games. And, their victories have led to more confidence. Apparently, they had a players-only meeting the night before the Giants game in which they said that they were capable of great things, and that they can beat anybody if they played together as a team. That’s a winning attitude, and it showed in their victory last week. At least for this week, they are basking in the glory of first place and in being the talk of the town (and a little of the nation).
Now, I’m writing all of this for two reasons. The first is that I can! (It’s been like 20 years since we’ve been in this situation). The second is for the Advent parallels we can make.
Advent is a Season of preparation. We are preparing for the coming of Christ. We are preparing for glory. Baruch’s prophecy about the Messianic Age in today’s first reading uses the word “glory” six times! How do we prepare for such glory?
“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain shall be made low” (Luke 3:5-6).
The Redskins have recently taken their preparation seriously and intensely. Can we take Advent seriously, and do at least one thing this season that reflects a change of heart? The ‘Skins have filled their valleys of despair with confidence. Can we be filled with confidence in God? They have lowered their mountains of individual pride and become team players. Can we lower our mountains of pride by going to Confession at least once during Advent?
During Advent, God calls us to change our ways… to make straight his paths. He wants to turn our losing habits into winning ones. He wants us to win victory! He wants us to share fully in His glory! Hopefully, it will be a Season of victories for us and Grace. At the same time, a December to remember with many victories on the field would be nice, too.
–Sincerely in Christ, Fr Greg