First Week of Advent

PREPARE YOUR HEARTS

By: Elizabeth Chesley-Jewell

Today is the First Sunday of Advent. For the next four weeks we wait with great anticipation for the birth of Jesus Christ. Through the years the meaning of this season has deepened for me but ever since I was a little girl advent has always been a time of year I look forward to. The parish I grew up in use to ask children from the congregation to light the advent wreath at the start of mass. Each year I would wonder what candle I would be asked to light. When I was asked I took the job very seriously. My name would be called and I would walk up into the sanctuary and step up on the stool and wait for the priest to hand me the light. I knew that each time a candle was lit we were one week closer to Christmas.

The same is still true of course. Each time a candle is lit we are one step closer to Christmas. But the wonder of a new candle being lit each week diminishes as we get older. The hopeful anticipation is overshadowed by the realization we only have 26 more days till Christmas. In the gospel today Jesus warns His disciples that they must be prepared for the coming of the Son of Man because they will not know the exact time that He will return. However, they must prepare their hearts so that when the moment does come they will be ready to stand before Him. The same is true for each of us. We must use this time of advent to prepare our hearts so that when Christmas morning arrives we can fully appreciate that moment of God being present with us. Jesus is coming regardless of whether we get every last present, have a perfectly prepared meal, or have every decoration perfectly hung. With this knowledge we are presented with the choice to look forward to this season with an open heart or get lost in the stress and anxiety. If we approach this advent season with joy and anticipation and wonder then the joy of Christmas day, the birth of Jesus Christ, will be doubled.

As we light the first advent candle today may we put aside all worry and stress and allow our hearts to be open. For the day when the Word became flesh is almost here.

Sunday’s Readings:

Jeremiah 33.14-16

1 Thessalonians 3.12-4.2

Luke 21.25-28, 34-36