As we begin the Advent season this weekend, we have to be careful it is not lost in the middle of all the other “stuff” of this time of year. This very brief time of reflection and preparation is a gift. We have all said it and hear it: I am too busy. I don’t have the time to do (Fill in the blank). The trick of the season of Advent is to stop, breath, and realize what is truly important. God! Isn’t He is the reason we have Christmas? Isn’t he the one who was born of the Blessed Mother? Isn’t he the one Saint Joseph protected and cared for?
During this holy time, we look ahead with joy and hope for His Second Coming. As I have said a few times, if we are praying and meeting Christ everyday, the Second Coming is nothing to be afraid of. It will be a meeting of an old friend. What the second coming will be like is seen in Isaiah 11/1-10. The peace of His Presence will wipe away all war, all violence, all hatred and people will live harmony with each other. No one will be judged because of their race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexual orientation, etc. God will sit in the middle of the great multitude of peace.
We also look back to the First Coming of Christ. In this time, we prepare ourselves by looking back and reflecting on what we would be like without Christ. God would be part of our lives, but, the ancient sin of Adam and Eve would still be in our way. In Christ and through the Cross, the sin of Adam was destroyed and we were restored to the relationship God intended from the beginning. Everything about Christmas points us to Easter: the wood of the stable, the feed box, the Virgin holding the Child, the Angel announcing the Good News, the outcasts (the Shepherds), Herod’s hatred…. Many of our Christmas decorations point us to Calvary: the red of the poinsettia, the wreath, the tree, the holly.
Finally, we celebrate the Jesus who is here among us: Emmanuel, God with us NOW. Jesus is not a babe in the manger nor is he far removed in heaven. Christ is with us every moment of our lives. If we open our eyes and hearts: we will see him in the beauty of the sunrise and sunset, he will be in the darkest night and in the brightest day, in the cry of a baby and in the tears of the grieving, in the child who runs freely and the elderly who have trouble walking, in the joy of a good meal and in the home of the hungry,…..there is no place Jesus is not present. Our task is to open the eyes of our hearts and see.
May the Lord grant us the grace to truly celebrate this Advent time.