I have to tell you I always find Advent to be a bit of a depressing time. The too many overcast days, the darkness that comes with the early sunsets and the wars and destruction of ancient cultures and the gloom of the Advent readings at Mass all seem to be too heavy
For me another downer is the ramifications of the U.S. elections on our country. There has been a rash of acts of vandalism against Mosques and Synagogues and even some churches and a rise in hostility to refugees and new immigrants. The political climate seems to be bringing out the worst in some people with a rise in the fear of the foreigner. All this as we await the birth of the Prince of Peace.
The truth is Advent is about the coming of God into our lives as God came into the lives of God’s people time and again in the history of the Jewish people. Advent is about the coming of God into human history with the birth of Jesus, son of Mary, in Bethlehem of Judea. Most importantly Advent is about the coming of Jesus into our lives every day as he intrudes into our comfort zones of the way we live our lives and relate to others. The Advent of our God tries to shake us up and challenges us to put on our Lord Jesus Christ in our dealings with other people. Jesus calls us as he called the people of his own time to stay awake, be vigilant and receptive to his coming into our lives in the challenges and opportunities that come our way in the ordinary living of our ordinary lives.
Jesus calls you and he calls me to be more accepting and understanding of family members and friends who try our patience. Jesus wants you and he wants me to be understanding and more forgiving of family members and friends with whom we disagree. Jesus wants you and Jesus wants me to be more accepting of family members or friends whose faith convictions or faith indifferences upset and confuse us. Jesus wants you and he wants me to be more sensitive to and aware of the struggles of the men, women and children who depend on food banks and toy drives to get through this Christmas time. Jesus wants you and Jesus wants me to live lightly on the earth and appreciate the impact our consumerism has on Earth.
More importantly Jesus wants you and he wants me to be people of faith and hope. Dark as our personal situations may be, dark as the season may be, dark as our times may be, blighted as they are with senseless wars and the destruction of so many lives, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and the light is Christ, the light of the world challenging each of us to so let our lights shine before others that they may see our good works and give glory to God.
Advent calls us to walk in the light of the Lord, follow the teaching and example of Jesus and not be overcome by the darkness of the season nor the darkness of world events. There is a light at the end of the tunnel – and our light is Christ.