Priest reflects on Advent

Fr. Zahn says he loves the busy Christmas season


Max Wirth

The Advent wreath is displayed in the school’s chapel and the appropriate candles are lit every morning at 7:15 Mass.

Max Wirth, Reporter

As December begins and the 25th quickly approaches, almost everyone’s focus shifts to Christmas. The decor, the lights, the snow and the presents. But there’s a deeper meaning behind Christmas that sometimes gets forgotten.

Fr. John Zahn reflects on the Advent season and its importance to the faith.

Fr. Zahn acknowledged both aspects of Christmas when he described what the Advent season means to him, but made sure to keep religion in the forefront. “If I was giving you the nice pious answer, it’d be the God becoming man,” he said, “but another answer means we better start doing some Christmas shopping. But of course it’s a time for people to get together and enjoy company and celebrate a joyful season.”

Preparation for an important liturgical season is big part of a priest’s life. “Personally I try to take some time to think about the birth of Jesus and God becoming human flesh,” he said.

Also, the sacrament of reconciliation resurfaces. “Secondly, for a priest it’s time for multiple penance services. For me frankly always a humbling experience to hear confessions,” he said. Zahn said he appreciates confession and what it does for him and all of the people repenting. Everyday duties ramp up, too. “Christmas liturgies happen, and particularly midnight Mass has always been special to me,” he said.

Luckily for Zahn, Advent isn’t the most challenging season for a priest. “(Advent) isn’t as demanding as Lent and Holy Week as far as liturgies go,” he said.

One common widely celebrated tradition of the season is the four-candled wreath. “It’s a nice tradition. I didn’t do it at home growing up, but it is becoming a bigger part of my life,” he said. Zahn said he enjoys lighting the wreath, and did so Nov. 27 during the 7:15 a.m. Mass in the chapel, placing a flame on the first purple calendar.  “It’s a nice reminder,” he said.

Zahn said he loves Christmas just as much as the next person or even more, and he encourages one to “remember the reason for the season.” He said, “I think in the parties, shopping and good feeling is a helpful reminder to the reason for the season. I love it all. And I’m not saying don’t do it, but remember why we’re doing it. Jesus was born and he gave us this miraculous gift.”