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From the President's Desk
We Are an Advent People
One night earlier this week, my nine-year-old daughter and I were driving to her basketball practice, and she pointed out the moon through the windshield, commenting on how she usually sees it out of her window and asking whether it was full or not. The moon hung in that final gibbous phase, when the slightest fingernail of a shadow casts upon it before it is completely full. I explained this to her, and upon agreeing with me that it wasn’t full yet, she said, “But I’ll be waiting for it…Don’t you think it seems brighter in the winter than in the summer?” 
And there it was - my youngest child capturing the season of Advent in as succinct a way as any I had ever heard. 
We are an Advent people. 
First, that means being observant. We need to pay attention, to see what we know is coming as certainly as the phases of the moon, but unless we are looking for it, we may not notice it at all. We know we are awaiting the coming of Christ, just like we know there is a moon up in the sky, but are we looking for it everywhere, and are we open to being surprised by where we may find it?
In addition to being observant, we need to see both the shadows and the light. Church lights are often dimmed at the lighting of the advent candles, magnifying the brightness in the face of a greater depth of darkness. Even as the light is present, it helps drive out shadows, but there is still room for growth. In the darkest months of the year, in the dark times of someone’s life, in the darkness of despair that is found throughout the world, how are we growing the light? We need to be able to recognize all of the shadows that are cast, including the ones we cast ourselves, in order to know where and how to bring light.
To be an Advent people, we need to find clarity. I am sure there is an atmospheric reason regarding humidity, air quality, and smog, but with the crispness of the winter comes a clarity to the night sky. Like that opportunity for keener vision, we should seek clarity. It is hard to cut through the interference: the commercialization of the holiday, the travel, the tension of preparation, and even some welcomed noise like the return home of loved ones, emblazoning our houses in lights, or baking several dozen different types of cookies. We need to embrace the clarity this season offers. Simplicity in the face of complexity; depth in a world of shallowness. This is an invitation to the greatest imaginable gift: unconditional love, to be received and given. 
Lastly, as an Advent people we need to be hopefully and patiently expectant. To look for light, to grow it, to find that clarity - we must be willing to wait for a promise fulfilled. This does not mean being passive. We need to let it be known we will be checking on this light, preparing for it, and making sure we are eagerly waiting and ready for when it comes. 
Thank God for car rides with little kids and their “simple” observations.
Thank God for family.
Thank God for this community.
Thank God for discovering His light in unexpected places, for shadows giving way, for clarity, and for the joy of waiting and preparing.
I wish you a blessed Advent, a joyful Christmas, and a hopeful New Year.

John Marinacci

Excerpt from an email to the Prep Community 12/10/2022
Mr. Marinacci's Degrees
  • Bachelor of Arts, English and Writing, Loyola University Maryland
  • Certificate of Diversity and Inclusion, Cornell University
  • Master of Liberal Arts, Johns Hopkins University
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