Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11
In this second Sunday of Advent we are encouraged to make ourselves ready for the physical coming of Jesus into our world. It is not a somber time, but rather, a time of joyful preparation. Baruch tells us in the first reading that the Israelites should prepare themselves for an eventual return from exile by putting on the beauty of the glory of God for their return to Jerusalem. That’s a positive outlook in spite of the dire times they experience.
Paul continues with a joy filled message when he tells the Philippians, “And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.”
In the Gospel of Luke, John the Baptist begins his ministry. “He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'”
John’s preaching of the coming of the Lord is a key theme of the Advent season. We, too, are called to prepare ourselves for Jesus’ coming. Just as John called people to repentance to be ready for the coming of Jesus, so we are called to ready ourselves for Christmas and the birth of Jesus into our world and daily lives. Will we be pure and blameless on December 25th as Paul suggests? Probably not. But we are called during this holy season of Advent (and at all other times) to look honestly at ourselves to see what needs to change so that we are better women and men than we were before Advent. We need to do this to prepare the way of the Lord for our family, community and even for ourselves. We need to be prophets who proclaim the coming of Jesus by our words and actions.
Alertness, even excitement, about Christ’s coming at Christmas, and every day of our lives, should prompt us to make this Advent special. No gloom and doom – just a positive attitude accompanied by loving and caring words and actions is the way to go.
What can you do to make this Advent special as you prepare for Christmas?
Amidst all the material preparations for Christmas, how can you be an example of caring words and actions?