We’re at a time of transition, in more ways than one. The seasons are changing. Here in the northern hemisphere the days are getting colder, and shorter. The leaves are mostly off the trees. We just had our Thanksgiving holiday here in the States and we’re gearing up for the Christmas Season. This means a lot of time spent with family and friends, being thankful for and reflecting on the year gone by and planning for the year to come.
I know a lot of us are worried about what is to come. There is a lot of uncertainty, and when we get around family and friends, especially this time of year, this can often add to that angst. When we get together things often bubble up to the surface. As we sit back and think about what we have, what we have to be thankful for, and what is to come, it can be very revealing. If we let it, it should be revealing.
Because not only does this time mark a change in physical seasons, the weather, and the like, today also marks a shift in our Church calendar – the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is about a coming. Coming together in hope for the coming of our Savior, the One that will restore peace – peace in the world.
But whereas Lent is a season of penance and charity and sacrifice, I see Advent not only as a time to get ready for the coming of Christ, but also a season of revealing. Revealing who we are. Revealing the person we have become over the course of the year. For better or for worse.
Advent is a time to get our affairs in order.
It’s not only a time to look towards that ultimate destination in life, that Heaven high up on the mountain as depicted in Isaiah and the Messiah that will lead us there. But it’s also a time to do as St. Paul wrote to the Romans, where we need to take stock of the life that we are living and look into the mirror and see who we truly are – and identify the things of the world we have made our god in place of God Himself. Jesus advises us to do this, to get our affairs in order because we will be called from this life by God when we least expect it, and so we need to be prepared.
It’s like any transition in season. We need to put the warm weather items into storage, and prepare the house for cold weather, making sure things like the furnace are in good working order. We make sure the house is ready for the cold, wind, ice to come. We don’t want to get to the first super cold day, after not having had the furnace checked, and then find out it does not work.
No, we want to have someone come out and check the furnace, and look for any issues, revealing any problems, and then know ahead of time what it’s going to take to fix it, so that we can prepare.
Our souls are the same way. Now is the time to check our internal furnace. We take a look at where we’ve fallen short as a person, where we’ve been overcome by vice or selfish thought or sin, and then we look to remedy that with God.
We let Advent be a wake-up call, and let it reveal those areas in our life we need to work on so that we can be ready and worthy for the coming of Christ, before it’s too late. We let Advent slow us down amidst of a busy, distracting and materialistic time of the year, and let it bring us into a closer relationship with Christ.
This time is an opportunity to get our affairs in order, and prepare our souls for the season ahead, and plan for how we will be better through Christ in the coming year, and let Him fill us with the special graces we need so that we can worthily receive His Gift.
IS 2:1-5; PS 122; ROM 13:11-14; MT 24:37-44