Making Room for Christ This Advent
1st Sunday of Advent
November 28, 2021
“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that they catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Our Lord urges us this Sunday to remain vigilant at all times. How can we possibly do that? Advent is all about watching and hopeful expectations. For many, Christ’s warnings about excessive anxiety, temptations to sin and overdoing it describes exactly how life can be as families prepare for Christmas, filled with the anxieties of life and perhaps eating and drinking to excess. Jesus makes it clear that tribulations are always on the horizon as long as we live on earth; so, we are called to prepare. Instead, our lives can become so full of “busy-ness” and chasing after the next illusory good thing that there is no longer any room for the Lord. This is why God often makes use of the inevitable “tribulations” of life to wake us up as to what is truly important.
One year I came into the kitchen over at the rectory and thought I was going blind--everything just seemed so dark, only to realize that one of the fluorescent bulbs in the light fixture had gone out. Well, when we opened the fixture up to replace it there were actually three bulbs out, not one. It had gotten darker and darker in that room and I had not even noticed until the kitchen was down to one bulb!
In much the same way, if we are not praying every day and nourishing our Spiritual lives with at least Sunday Mass, our relationship with Christ will grow dimmer and dimmer without our even realizing it is happening, until that which is most precious, our faith, has been exchanged for fool’s gold. If we are shopping this Advent only for ourselves, we may not understand Christ’s self-giving at all. The coming of Christ, whether in Bethlehem or in a human heart, after all, does not require decorated trees and fancy holiday dinners. What the Lord does need is an invitation to your home. Make sure he has been included in all the preparations you will be making for Christmas!
Most of us could not even get into church last Christmas because of Covid restrictions. Who could have believed this was even possible? Hopefully, many of us will appreciate the freedom we have to practice our faith in public, which we may have taken for granted. Though the churches may be open again, many hearts are not open to Christ. If you are reading this, Christ wishes to be the best friend you have ever had. He wishes to give you unimaginable gifts. It may look like a risk to seek a deeper friendship with Christ (and it is), but if you do take that risk (by prayer, conversion of life, acts of charity), it will be the best risk you have ever taken in your life.