Well here we are in the beautiful season of Advent….. a time to prepare ourselves for the great feast of Christmas. I enjoy the “Advent Lights” you see as you drive in the evening. It brings back some of the anticipation I remember as a kid growing up. I loved getting our Christmas tree as a young boy… decorating the tree and then the presents under the tree. The preparation and anticipation almost seemed more wonderful than the actual arrival of Christmas. (I know it’s not, but it seemed like it was at times.) On Christmas night, I could feel the “air going out of the balloon”. We need to remember that we celebrate a Christmas season and not just a day…but more on that later.
Advent is a serious season. Look at the reading from the first Sunday of Advent. It was read two days in a row. Wow, I don’t remember the gospel reading at mass being the same for two days in a row. But the following passage from Luke 21 was read on Saturday (Nov. 27th ) and on the first Sunday of Advent (Nov. 28th).The church must be trying to make an important point.
“But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life (anxieties of daily life), and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare (by surprise like a trap); … but watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man.” (Luke 21:34-36)
So Jesus is trying to get our attention. He’s trying to caution us about allowing our hearts to be weighed down not only by drunkenness and dissipation, but by anxieties and the cares of this life. Gee, I think there are plenty of things today to cause anxiety and a heavy heart…. but Jesus is cautioning us …. “watch at all times and pray”. There’s no substitute for prayer. We must be on guard…on our toes. So, no matter what’s happening to us in this world of our, the answer is to “watch and pray”… to place our lives in the hands of the Lord. He will take care of us.
Let’s not allow the “anxiety and cares for this life” cause us to miss what the Lord is doing. Let’s raise our gaze into the heavens and prepare our hearts for the coming of our magnificent savior. It’s Advent… a great season. Let’s “watch and pray”.