Are you ready?
Brothers and sisters: You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.
For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
This weekend many will probably be exhausted from shopping and cooking through the Thanksgiving holiday. Some of us may even still be trying to fend off the back pain we are suffering because of all the snow we shoveled off the sidewalks. But in the midst of all of this is an even greater thing happening — we are about to enter the season of Advent.
The word “advent” means “the arrival of a notable person or event.” For us Christians, we await the arrival of Christ at Christmas.
Early Christians have celebrated Advent as a means of not getting caught up in all of the hustle and bustle and making things look like it is already Christmas. I am just as guilty as anyone else, since for years when I was a kid, the eve of Thanksgiving meant taking the old artificial tree out of the basement and putting up all of the Christmas decorations. From then on, it pretty much looked like Christmas until the New Year.
Advent, on the other hand, draws us deeper into the mystery of Joseph and Mary as they prepared for the birth of Jesus. Advent helps to reflect on the distractions of the darkness and our need for the light. True light, which has always been a symbol of Christ, is born into darkness, the very darkness of our own lives. But still, sometimes we have to spend a little time noticing the darkness, what is happening in the business of our lives, in order to better focus on the light, to live in the light. St. Paul says it is as if we “put on the armor of light” to fend off the assaults of darkness.
The question we are left with for reflection in Advent, as we await the savior’s birth, is “Am I ready?” Am I really ready for Christ? Maybe I am so caught up in the shopping and baking and preparing for company and Christmas parties that Christmas comes and my heart is not ready to “receive” the savior.
My prayer for all of us this Advent is that we have a greater awareness of our need for light in our darkness. That we have an expectant and childlike faith that is eager to encounter the living savior Jesus at Christmas. The most amazing and powerful Christmases I can recall ever celebrating were the ones when I spent the most time reflecting and patiently waiting for the light, the Lord Jesus, to be born anew in me at Christmas.
May the Spirit of the living God open our hearts to await with faith the arrival of not just anyone, but The One, The Savior, Jesus. Come Lord Jesus! We are ready for you!
The Rev. Joshua Brown
St. Patrick Catholic Church