Reflection for the 1st Sunday of Advent
I love preparation. It is a sign of anticipation of something desired. It might be a meal, a gathering of special family or friends, or maybe the birth of a baby.
Advent is the Church's gift to us of preparation time. It is a time of anticipation of Christ's coming both at the end of time and as a baby at Christmas. We need these next four weeks to prepare, not just our homes with decoration, but also, perhaps more importantly, our hearts.
In today's Gospel, Jesus tells His followers (us included) to stay awake! This season of Advent when we are given this time to prepare helps us to do just that. If we take our time and mark the weeks of this season with special preparations in our homes and hearts, we will be ready to greet our Savior both at the end of time and on Christmas morning.
For myself, my home will be decorated gradually. All that will appear this week is my Advent Wreath. Next week the manger will appear, but empty, and a fresh Christmas wreath will go on my door. During week three I will put the animals around the manger, and decorate the rest of my home with fresh pine greens and decorations I have collected over the years. (My apartment is not really conducive to a Christmas tree, so I substitute in other ways). Then in the final week just before Christmas Eve, Mary and Joseph will be in the manger awaiting the birth of the Christ Child, the shepherds will be approaching and the wise men in the distance, and at Midnight the Christ Child is placed in His crib.
As for preparing my heart, well Confession is always helpful, and I usually have some Advent spiritual reading. The Magnificat Advent Companion has become one of my favorites. I also have a book of essays for the Advent and Christmas seasons.
So let us heed Jesus' words and stay awake so that we can prepare ourselves to receive this most Divine Guest.
To get things started I offer you this lighthearted meditation called The Advent Virus.