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Sunday, First Week of Advent, 2010

November 28, 2010

Blessed New Year! (liturgically speaking, that is 🙂 )

As we go through this season of Advent, preparing for the celebration of Jesus’ birth, it’s easy to get caught up in our culture’s tendency to “wear Christmas out” before it even gets here.  For ways to bring the season of Advent to life in your home and to find the Christian symbolism in many common sights and sounds of the season, I invite you to check out the page of “Advent customs for the Home” the “Christmas Treasure Hunt” page.  The true meaning of the season (Advent!) is all around us if we just know what to look for…

All-powerful God, increase our strength of will for doing good
that Christ may find an eager welcome at His coming
and call us to His side in the Kingdom of Heaven,
where He lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen. (Opening prayer from Mass)

Isaiah 2:1-5 (all nations shall stream to the Lord’s mountain and learn to live in peace)
Psalm 122:1-9 “I rejoiced when I heard them say: let us go to the house of the Lord”
Romans 13:11-14 (Live honorably, as in daylight)
+ Matthew 24:37-44 (Jesus will return when least expected; always be ready!)


Have you ever wanted to just grab someone by the shoulders and shout those words? Perhaps it’s a co-worker who’s taken on way more than they can handle, unwilling or unable to say “no,” setting themselves up for a panicked frenzy. Or maybe it’s a friend who’s too star-struck to realize that his new “friendship” with a “pretty young thing” is destroying his marriage. Maybe your child uses credit cards as if they pay themselves, racking up debts that will enslave him for years to come.

Whatever the case, most of us have watched someone cluelessly skipping down a dangerous path and wished we could do something about it. Sometimes people are receptive to intervention. Sometimes not. Sometimes they just have to learn the hard way…but oh, that’s hard to watch!

God knows the feeling–about me.

From His vantage point in eternity, far above my earth-bound limitations, He sees my future. He knows the end of the path I’m on. He sees where I’m going wrong.

All too often, I don’t.

He knows that time is at a premium–that if I don’t change direction soon, it’ll be too late.

“It is now the hour to wake from sleep…
let us cast off the deeds of darkness…
and make no provision for the desires of the flesh”
-Romans 13:11, 12, 14

Advent is my wake-up call.

“Oh, it’s ok, God understands. He won’t mind if I keep going a little farther–
just to see what’s around that corner…”

God understands alright. He understands far better than I do! He knows what’s around that corner & what consequences I’ll face there!

“Be sure of this: if the owner of the house knew when the thief was coming
he would keep a watchful eye and not allow his house to be broke into.
You must be prepared in the same way.”
-Matthew 24:43

I need to wake up…spiritually.
I need to stop letting earthly fascinations and simple heedlessness
drown out God’s still, small Voice.

Then I need to learn.

“Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain…
that He may instruct us in His ways
-Isaiah 2:3 (emphasis added)

God very much wants to share His eternal perspective with me. He wants to show me the path to life, to fullness of joys in His Presence, to the delights at His right hand forever (see Psalm 16:11). But that won’t help me unless I take His instruction to heart (think of those earlier examples of people skipping down a road to destruction).

This all comes down to a need for prayer–not just talking to God, but listening–and action.
I need to be sensitive enough and receptive enough that God can point out new, better directions for my life. Than I need to go where He’s pointing. I have nothing to lose (except things I’m better off without!) and everything to gain.

This Advent, carve out some quiet time with God every day, even if it’s only five minutes. Yes, that’s going to be a sacrifice, especially in this hectic time of year, but it will pay rich dividends. Let God speak–through His Word, through His Church, through His Spirit living within you. Let Him instruct you in His ways. You’ll be well on your way to a Merry Christmas!

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