Last week, I was saying that in order to truly experience and live the season of Advent we must intentionally strive to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. We said that ingratitude is absolutely incompatible with happiness yet it remains a trap into which we are very susceptible to fall. We fall into it even though we know that cultivating an attitude of gratitude is a much better way to live. There are all kinds of reasons why we fall into this trap but perhaps one of them is that we are try to do too much too fast perhaps especially during this time of year. When we do this the trials and tribulations that are always seem to become more and more difficult to navigate and this makes it very difficult to focus on the goal that lies ahead-if we can even remember what that might be. The goal of this Advent/Christmas season needs to be positioning ourselves and our families etc. in the best way we can to receive all the blessings that God has for us during this wonderful season. If we are practicing gratitude we come to realize that just as God has continually blessed us in the past and in the present, He will only continue to do so in the future. We come to know that there are blessings behind every burden and this knowledge inspires and encourages us to go forward, to keep moving toward the blessings and to even thank God for them before we receive them. That is what faith is. Faith is gratitude in advance of the blessings that lay beyond the burdens. On this Second Sunday of Advent St. John the Baptist offers us the great hope that one day our path to the salvation which God offers will be made level and straight. We can help to straighten our own paths by thanking God in advance for the blessings to which they lead. In so doing, even the burdens begin to look a bit less burdensome we might even find ourselves focusing even more on the Lord than the blessings that He has for us. We come to understand more clearly what we are looking for. And what we are looking for we tend to see.