It’s almost toddler time at our house again. Faith is nine months old and already exhibiting traits of a true Tierney toddler. I expect that very soon, no cabinet door will be left unopened, no “childproof” bottle will truly be safe, and no countertops will be left unscaled.
My children have always been of the inquisitive, into everything all of the time to the extreme variety, and impending toddlerhood always brings a sense of urgency–a sense of needing to childproof everything swiftly and securely.
My goal is to create a “yes environment” for my toddler–a home in which she can freely explore without fear of injury or a constantly hovering mother. A home where she can pick up anything within her reach to look at, feel, and even taste. A home where instead of a constant barrage of no’s, she hears, “Yes! Please explore, learn, and grow to your fullest potential!”
Now, this type of environment isn’t always entirely possible to achieve in a home full of Lego building, Polly Pocket playing older siblings. But we do our best. We do our best to keep all that could harm her out of her line of vision, and to be vigilant about what might be inadvertently left within temptation’s reach.
And when I do find her sitting quietly, Lego figure in hand, poised to meet its demise in her open mouth? Instead of a panicked “No!”, I simply divert her attention to something else. Something suitable for her. Something that is a resounding “Yes!”
So, too, are we called to divert our hearts to all things good and holy during these final days of Advent. We have entered the O Antiphon days. The days in which we should feel a sense of urgency to make sure our hearts are swept clean, ready to embrace the fullness of God’s grace at the glorious Christmas Mass. The Mass where the Salvation story is laid before our very eyes, as we gaze upon the babe in the crèche while consuming the flesh and blood that died to save us.
Create a “yes environment” in your heart during these last few days of delightful anticipation. Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation with your family. Recite the O Antiphons each night and reflect on our history and how desperately we need a Savior. Remember to take time out from the busyness of Christmas preparations for daily prayer and family time. Look forward to receiving Our Lord in His great gift of Holy Communion at Christmas Mass. Guard your heart against Satan’s lies with the power of the Rosary, holy water, and spiritual reading. This is real freedom–when the bad is shackled so the good can overflow with the abundance of an authentically joyful life.
Create a heart in which God can say, “Yes! Please explore, learn, and grow to your fullest potential!” Create a heart that is so full of good, there is no room for evil–a heart that is truly prepared to behold the miracle of the birth of Christ.
To learn more about the O Antiphons: