I’ve been watching (binging) a show on Amazon Prime called “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” It’s about a Jewish woman on the upper East Side of Manhattan in the 1950’s whose husband leaves her and she tries to become a stand-up comic. It’s hilarious. The way they portray the 50’s, with its glamour and post-war prosperity, is pretty appealing. I find myself thinking, “man, those were the glory days.”
Then, obviously, I’m like, “what do I know about the 50s?” The 1950s in America, like any age anywhere, had its good things and bad things. I’m reading a book now called The Way We Never Were, which is a survey of the role nostalgia plays in American family life. The gist: we only remember certain parts of the past, and so what we remember may not always be what actually happened, for better or for worse.
Sometimes I also catch myself wishing we could go back to the glory days of the Church, to the glory days of Christian Europe when kings and queens were Catholic, when empires had Christ at the center, and all of that. While that’s true, it’s only true to an extent. There were good kings and bad kings; good popes and bad popes; times of prosperity and times of division.
This 4th Sunday of Advent should serve as a reminder to us that the glory days have never existed, and they will never exist on this earth. The glory days are yet to come, and Christmas – the birth of God Incarnate – is only the beginning of those days. The gospel this morning is the account of the Visitation, Mary going with haste to visit Elizabeth. John the Baptist leaps for joy in the womb of Elizabeth. This is the power of Jesus, even as a zygote; his presence is so palpable that a baby in utero can sense him and leap for joy. Something new is happening in the lives of these two women, and something new is happening in our own lives and in the life of the Church.
The glory days are yet to come. Are you moving with us toward them?