Today we begin a new year in the Church. Happy Advent! The world wants us to think that this is the Christmas season. But the Christmas season actually STARTS with Christmas! Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t get in the Christmas spirit. We should. But our mindset needs to go far beyond shopping and partying.
“Stay awake!” These are the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 24. And this, really, is the theme of Advent. During Advent, we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord. Some may ask why. Jesus has already come, right? I mean, isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Yes, it is. But we must always remember that Christ will come again. This is why Holy Mother Church gives us the season of Advent.
It can seem a delicate balancing act. We want to celebrate with family and friends. And so we should. But we must always remember the bigger picture. We must conduct ourselves as those in waiting. How? Check out the second reading today from Romans 13. “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.”
Father, help us to stay awake! Keep us ever mindful that we await the return of our Savior, your Son Christ Jesus. Amen.