1st Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 2:1-5,   Romans 13:11-14,  Matthew 24:37-44

First Week of AdventAdvent is not just a time of preparation for Christmas! We are entering the season of the Church’s year which symbolises for us the beginning of the History of our Salvation.  During the Liturgical Year we will commemorate and celebrate the great event of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, His ministry among us and His Death and Resurrection.      

The liturgy of Advent can bring us back in time to before the coming of Christ, to a time of darkness.  Then the realisation that the Saviour is coming gives us the expectation of the Light that is to come into the world.  For us in the Northern Hemisphere it is beautifully illustrated by the event of 22nd December – the shortest day of the year when we move gradually from the darkness of winter into increasing light.  I like to think of Advent in terms of the ‘WWW of Advent’ – Watching, Waiting and Wondering. 

Advent reminds us to be Watching out for the signs of the coming of God’s Kingdom.  They are the signs that Jesus himself proclaimed; the blind see, captives are set free, the oppressed will be lifted up, the lame will walk and the poor will have the Good News brought to them.  Our world today may seem very different to this but we are being called, during Advent, to watch carefully for the signs that Jesus says are there.

The Waiting that we do in Advent is not a tiresome, draining waiting which frustrates and is unproductive.  Our waiting is a ‘waiting upon’ rather than a ‘waiting for’, much the same as the way Mary waited.  Mary went into the ‘hill country’ to visit with, to minister to and, to ‘wait upon’ Elizabeth and Zachary during the time before the birth of Jesus.  Let us wait upon  each other with care and compassion during Advent and we may find that we are waiting upon the Lord.                                                           

Wondering is a sort of contemplation, childlike contemplation!  A child spends much time wondering how, why, when and where.  Our Advent wondering, our contemplation, might lead us to consider how God has done this, why God chose to come among us or how near, how present God is in my life. Let us wonder at the great mystery that God came out of the heavens, took flesh and became one of us!  This is indeed the wonder that we share and by which we are blessed and saved. 

The Gospel today says that we “must stand ready because the Son of God is coming at an hour you do not expect”. Let us Watch, and Wait and Wonder at the Lord’s daily visitation to our lives.