Monday December 9, 2019
12:46 pm

Advent provides a reminder to watch carefully for God’s presence among us

      Around first or second grade, I remember sitting in class at St. Luke, learning about Advent. I fully admit that often, my “deep” thoughts on matters would get me in trouble with Sister, who merely thought I was being a trouble maker. However this wasn’t the case on the subject of Advent.

      Elbows on my desk, fists under my chin, I was puzzled. What was the big deal about Advent? Jesus was already born all those years ago. Why would we want to we pretend each year to be waiting all over again? Why couldn’t we fast forward to the main event – the birthday party?

      We see the coming of Jesus into our lives as something that’s already happened and Christmas becomes just another reason to party to excess. We miss the point.

      After years of longing and waiting, in the still of that dark night, Jesus slipped into our world, into humanity, so quietly only a few of the most humble were there to notice.

      During Advent, we wait in remembrance of the Infant’s birth, but what we tend to forget in the frantic busyness of the weeks leading up to Christmas is that we still wait. Jesus told us (and you know our Jesus never lies) that he will come again, this time in great glory. We wait.

      But in the meantime, we forget that our God waits too. God sits patiently waiting for us to invite him into our lives continually and in so many ways. Our lives often become like old, comfortable slippers. We settle in, saying to ourselves there is nothing new, nothing left to surprise us into delight.

      Just when we might not expect it, we discover a new love, a new friend. We mend fences; heal hurts. We develop a previous untapped talent. When we wait in breathless anticipation – we are prepared for the best to happen and open ourselves to the possibilities, God steps in, joyful to with us over and over again.

      In this week’s Gospel (Mk 13:33-37), Jesus tells his disciples “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.”

      This is what Advent calls us to do. As the servants in the story, we can’t allow ourselves to become complacent. The coming of Jesus is not stuck in the past and it’s not in some nebulous future, too far away for us to comprehend. We might not know when the Lord will come, which is all the more reason to be alert, be watchful.

      While some will read the passage and believe it speaks of the eventuality of their own deaths, others  view it as a directive on how they should embrace all that’s good in life and live it fully God’s kingdom is not something only of the past or the future, it’s in the here and now. That’s pretty heady stuff, isn’t it?

      As the servants attending the master, we need to be alert. We need to watch because we’ll never know when God will next knock on our doors and asked to be let in. This time of Advent reminds us of the need to prepare.

      Watch carefully and wait!

     

      Debbie Bosak is the editor and general manager of Northwest Indiana Catholic Publications and a member of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Merrillville. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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