Advent is not a static time. It is a time when we are called to deepen our commitment to the meaning of Jesus’ life and words. John, the Baptist, a charismatic preacher, insisted that each of us must change and center our lives and work on the renewal of our relationship with God. For ordinary people, his message was both joyful and alarming. “The Messiah is coming” brought great joy, but the call for a deep conversion was disquieting. Questions presented themselves: What demands would a conversion place on their everyday actions? These questions echo down through two thousand years to us. Addressing them is the work of Advent, the pathway to our deeper conversion.
Jesus, help me to examine my life and know myself. Give me the courage to know what should change.
Take some time to look at society’s understanding of the days before Christmas. Take one action that supports the spiritual meaning of Christmas rather than a materialistic one.
John the Baptist went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying in the desert:
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill
shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be
and the rough ways
and all flesh shall see the salvation
Of our God.’
Luke 3: 3-6
Jesus, more like us than we ever really imagined, reveals to us the wonder of who we are as bearers of the Spirit of God.
Praying a New Story
The event of Christ is the only event in human history that promises relocation and centering, meaning and purpose. This promise and its fulfillment evoke passionate and heartfelt praise and thanks, especially for those aware of their own brokenness and the healing which Christ brings into their lives.
During this Advent season as we celebrate the new relationship between God and his people, may that be mirrored in our renewed relationships with spouses, children, family and those near and dear to us. May we speak tenderly to each other amidst all the rush of the season and transform the shopping days till Christmas into the true Advent of Christ.
The church set aside this four-week pre-Christmas season as a time of spiritual preparation for Christ’s coming. It is a time of quiet anticipation. If Christ is going to come again into our hearts, there must be repentance. Without repentance, our hearts will be so full of worldly things that there will be ‘no room in the inn’ for Christ to be born again.…We have the joy not of celebration which is the joy of Christmas, but the joy of anticipation.
John R. Brokhoff
One of the essential paradoxes of Advent: that while we wait for God, we are with God all along ,that while we need to be reassured of God’s arrival, or the arrival of our homecoming, we are already at home. While we wait, we have to trust, to have faith, but it is God’s grace that gives us that faith. As with all spiritual knowledge, two things are true, and equally true, at once. The mind can’t grasp paradox; it is the knowledge of the soul.