Message from Father Rick
My first teaching job was at a reservation school in Zuni, New Mexico. It was a new school district, so in order to fill the many teaching positions, the Reservation did national recruitment. It made for a very interesting conglomeration of young teachers from across the country. Since the nearest town was a substantial distance away, the school district provided housing. We all lived in older mobile homes that were situated on the school playground. It wasn’t the Ritz - but it was our new home. My assignment was fifth grade and I absolutely loved my job and the people I worked with.
As teachers, the biggest hurdle we faced was the absence of our families. We were all far from home so whenever any parents showed up, it was understood that they had to be shared with everyone! In my second year in Zuni my Mom and Dad decided to venture out and pay a visit. I was thrilled and waited with great anticipation for the day I could show them the beauty of New Mexico. I couldn’t wait to introduce them to my fellow teachers and school staff that had become my new friends and family. Most of all, however, I wanted them to visit my classroom and meet the students that had taken permanent residence in my heart. When the day finally came, I dragged my parents everywhere. They were wonderful ambassadors to everyone of the importance of roots. In hindsight, I guess there was nothing quite like the 2,000 miles that separated us to make me comprehend what a gift I had in my Mom and Dad.
I share this story with you because I think the season of Advent is all about the excitement that is associated with the waiting and preparing for someone truly wonderful. Advent calls us to find the child like excitement we once had as we awaited the gift of Christmas. We need to watch and enthusiastically keep vigil for the arrival of the One who is at the core of our hearts and lives. This is the season where we desire nothing more than to share with Him all that we’ve become, and all that we dream to be and do. This waiting makes the heart fonder – this waiting reminds us of our roots, this season focuses on what is most important in life. Finally, this season opens our eyes to the greatest gift ever shared with the human race.
I wish you all a very blessed Advent and Christmas season.