Three times in the readings for this second Sunday of Advent we hear the call to “Prepare the way of the Lord!” We are accustomed to this directive but I always question how it is that we are preparing. Is the rush to Christmas shopping the way? The thought of gift-giving is certainly part of the thinking about that activity but it has become such a frenzy in our culture that I wonder how many of us stop to think about the genesis of the custom. Here are some questions for us – me included – for today’s reflection about preparing.
- Do we really see this time of Advent as a true opportunity to go deeply into the mystery of the Incarnation – the entry of God’s promise into this realm of life?
- Will we understand on Christmas day what the coming of Christ might mean at this moment to our individual lives as well as to our world?
- What difference will our preparation make?
- Because Jesus did not “fit the bill” of the Messiah for those waiting for the throne of David to be restored, only the really astute ones, those who intuited who he was (like Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna), really noticed his coming. What about us? Do we recognize the possibility that exists in our day? The possibility that the times warrant a new kind of Christmas, a new coming of Christ into the world?
- Have we been preparing for the in-breaking of God to shake us up and create us anew? Is our consciousness, our recognition, such that we might recognize the Christ hidden in our neighbors? Our co-workers? Our families? Our church community?
- In our preparation, have we set aside some special time to pray, to ask for the Christ presence to be born in our hearts so that we might face the challenges that are so evident and in need of our care and attention?
- Do we expect our prayers to be answered?
Enough! Let us get about preparing!