The Season of Advent – Happy New Year!

Submitted by 

Rev. Kevin J. Martin

Pastor of St. Kateri 

Tekakwitha Parish 

 

The weeks prior to Christmas mark a beautiful season in the liturgical calendar called Advent, which has a two-fold character:  it points to the first coming of Jesus, the period of time we spend preparing for Christmas – the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, but it also alludes to the fact that He came to prepare us also for His second coming.  It is also a season of grace and conversion for us – to prepare our hearts and minds for the return of Jesus at the end of time.  It is appropriate because we need to be aware of our final destiny that awaits us with the second coming of Christ if we are to celebrate properly His first coming.  It also commences a new liturgical year for Christian believers, our spiritual beginning of a New Year!

On this First Sunday of Advent, we hear Jesus teaching His disciples the attitude they should have when they see the signs pointing to His return.  If they remained vigilant in prayer, they would have nothing to fear from the events surrounding His final victory over sin and death.  Like wanderers finally seeing the splendor of the sun, they would lift their heads, radiant with joy, their final liberation in sight.  During this joyful season, we can join all of Jesus’ disciples throughout the ages who have longed for Jesus’ final return in glory.  Like them, we can place our confidence in the grace of God that has come “for the salvation of everyone.”  Along with all those who have gone before us, we too await “our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity.”

Each year, the Church invites us to renew the memory of the great love that God has shown to all of us.  This holy season teaches us that Christ’s coming was not only for the benefit of His contemporaries – His power and grace is available for all people – for all time.  All we have to do is persevere in prayer, continue to love one another, and humbly receive Jesus into our hearts.

As we begin the season of Advent, let us ask Jesus to fill us with a deeper desire for His coming.  Let us join with our brothers and sisters in our worshipping communities with open hearts and heads uplifted.  Our redemption is fast approaching – Let us all cry out: “Come, Lord Jesus!”  God longs for us to be united to Him and He gives us the grace to live as His sons and daughters.   

In this Advent season we prepare for the coming of the Lord by loving and living life to the full in the present.  We need not worry or be concerned about the things that cause fear and anxiety within our lives – but with confidence and hope, trust that the Lord is with us and will come again to take us back to Himself.  May we open our minds and hearts to the coming of the Lord in our lives every day and prepare to meet Him.

I encourage you to make time for the Lord, for His first coming and prepare well for His final coming again in the future.  In the busyness and the rush of the holiday season, don’t forget to thank God for the most precious gift of all, Jesus!  During this wonderful season, may God give each one of us the grace to respond to His divine invitation and make ready the way of the Lord.