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  • Sarah Beth Dippel



Since Thanksgiving, I've been praying with a quote that I found meaningful. No, not just meaningful, transformative. It wasn't something I read in an Advent reflection or something uttered by a great saint. No. It came from the holiday movie, "Love The Coopers." Now I won't encourage you to watch the film with your young children, but there is something about this movie that struck me in various ways—notably, this line from Officer Williams to Emma.

"Try and be the person you want to become."

Sometimes words stick with me. I can still see my co-worker from my first real job explaining how to drive in snow. Mark's hands at two and ten on an imaginary wheel, "Just take it slow; if you start to lose control, steer the wheel into a snowbank." These words repeat in my head every time I get behind the wheel to drive on snowy roads. And so it is with this one-liner from a laugh-out-loud holiday movie because the person I want to become is a saint.

This Advent has been the best Advent I've had spiritually in a very long time. I find that the penitential season of Lent is easier to fully embrace. With Christmas, there is so much joy and Christmas decorations and music; it is hard for me to remember that I'm waiting, that it is the season of Advent and not yet, the season of Christmas.

I haven't written to you much because I was still processing something I could share with you. Of all the posts I've written to you, this one might be the most spiritually intimate I've shared. But it feels necessary.

I took Mark's advice because it is really just life advice, take it slow, and if things aren't going well, find a way to stop and regroup. I prayed through each opportunity that allowed me to be the person I want to become. I asked the Lord to fill my heart with His Peace. Then I went all out. I didn't fret over Christmas spending. I baked batches of Christmas cookies. I baked and decorated Gingerbread men; I haven't done that since culinary school. I went to daily Mass, a lot. I read Advent reflections. I mailed out package after package of holiday gifts. I prayed and then prayed more. And none of it felt like a chore; it felt like a gift. The more I gave of myself, the more I desired to draw near to the Lord. I wanted to set up a tent and camp next to the tabernacle.

Mother Teresa says, "Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are." Giving of ourselves is the gift of the Holy Trinity dwelling within us. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit dwell within each of us not in some compartmentalized way, like an imaginary tabernacle in our hearts but coursing through us, giving us life.

Four days left, not to shop, four days left to focus our hearts on The Beloved, the babe to be born in a manger. Put down the last-minute to-do list. Four days. "Can I give you some advice?" says Officer Williams. "Try and be the person you want to become."

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