Advent: Preparing for the Real Source of Happiness

xmas-packagesBy Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB

My  joy at seeing last weekend’s bright, sunny Saturday was dampened as I read the local newspaper’s huge headline:  “A shopper  comments on Black Friday, ‘THE HAPPIEST DAY IN MY LIFE!’”

The media repeats the shoppers’ mania: “ONLY 26 days left for Christmas shopping.”

Strange, we find the same sense of urgency in the readings for the 2nd Sunday of Advent … but the waiting is for a different reason.

Isaiah, Peter and Mark’s Gospel remind us to be prepared, but not by doing more shopping!

Isaiah calls the people to believe God will help them return to their Holy City. “A voice cries out in the desert, prepare the way of the Lord!”

Peter encourages people to persevere in their waiting for Christ to come. “Conduct yourselves in holiness and devotion, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God.”

In the gospel, we hear John the Baptist say almost the same thing as Isaiah, “A voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make right his path.'”

Advent is, for sure, a preparation, but preparation for the celebration of the humble coming of a God to earth (born to poor parents, in a manger). Surely that is the source of our happiness!

Advent readings direct our thoughts 3 ways: to the past when God became one with us, to the present as God dwells in our hearts constantly, and to eternity when we will become one with God.

This week:

1. Let’s put all things aside, quiet our minds and rest in God’s presence for 20 minutes each day.

2. Let’s see Christ in those around us, at the store, in traffic, at work. Let’s honor, respect and care about them.

3. Let’s reach out to the poor, the hungry, the lonely, as Christ. Let’s give them our time and attention, talking with them, inquiring about their health, showing interest in them. They are next door to us, in the nursing home down the street, at the shelter downtown, and everywhere we go. Let’s help make Advent a happy time for them.

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