HomedotMagisReflectionsAre We There Yet? No!

Are We There Yet? No!

Many years ago on a drive to the Story Land amusement park, my three- and five-year-old boys screeched in the back seat with excitement. Every 30 seconds it seemed they would beg in anguish, “Are we there yet?” My husband’s patience grew thin, and his responses became an increasingly terse “No!”

In a moment that we all now laugh about, my husband threatened to stop the car and turn around if the boys asked one more time. The car filled with total silence. Thirty seconds later my three-year-old laid his little head reluctantly on the car window and gazed out, chanting in a whisper to himself, “Are we there yet? NO! Are we there yet? NO! Are we there yet? NO!” My husband and I doubled over in laughter.

This has become my Advent chant. The commercial build-up to Christmas makes it so hard to stay in the “We’re not there yet.” Our office parties and school gift exchanges all come before the celebration of Christmas itself—in my book they should all come afterwards. To stay in Advent, I imagine myself in the back seat of a car on a drive to my Story Land—the moment of sitting alone in that space of prayer with the angels, basking in the fullness of the Incarnation, the moment the chorus at church belts out “Joy to the World” with trumpets and bells, the moment of being with my family—especially that little boy who is now 19 and coming home from college. Are we there yet? No! But if I can keep myself in the back seat, screeching with anticipation for just a few more days, I know I will not allow a single one of those Christmas moments to pass me by unnoticed or unwrapped.

What are the moments you are waiting for with anticipation this season?

Lisa Kelly
Lisa Kelly
Lisa Kelly is a wife, mother, and Ignatian Associate living in Omaha, Nebraska. She works to help organizations integrate spirituality into their planning and systems. She and her husband, Tom, completed the 19th Annotation in 2005, just prior to spending two years living in the Dominican Republic with their three young children, supporting the work of the Jesuit Institute for Latin American Concern. Additionally they have lived in El Salvador and Bolivia for extended periods.


  1. Thank you you for that Lisa. I am on my own, feeling low and your story about the children lifted my spirits. I love kids, so honest (Usually) say what they mean and mean what they say! I so wish I had some children around me, You have given me an idea: Maybe I could listen to them read at the School. Unless I am too old (I am now 80yrs. I do miss children and do have some children as friends, but they too live far away! I well remember the ARE WE THERE YET! God Bless you and the work you do. Happy Advent. A. M.D.G.

  2. Oh my. I love this. Yes, let’s stay in hopeful and wondrous anticipation this Blessed Advent until Christmas Day when we can fully rejoice in the Coming of our Saviour and then exchange our presents celebrating his birth.


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