Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advent: A Time To Prepare

Jesus said to the disciples, "For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.  Matthew 24:37-44
Today is the first Sunday in Advent.  I love Advent and it has become my favorite church season.   Begun in 367 AD by Hilary de Poitiers as a three week preparation for Christmas, it is a time of preparation, expectation and hope.  Yes, Jesus has come, he is indeed God incarnate, yet he is coming again.  I suppose for me, waiting for the eschaton becomes more real for me during this time.  How can I prepare?  As Archbishop Rowan Williams asks, "What will happen if Jesus is allowed into my life more fully and radically?"

So, to prepare will take time, time to study, to pray, to reflect.  Already my schedule is filled - every weekend taken up with choir and ballet rehearsals and performances, and there is the shopping to do, along with normal life and responsibilities.  It's as though Satan has devised a way that leaves us more exhausted, more depleted, so that by the time of Christmas and celebration, we no long want to hear another Christmas hymn or attend another gathering, or give to another worthy cause, because we and our bank accounts are spent.  I don't want it to be this way and I'll have to think more about what this may mean to be able to work around what has already been committed to this year, but also to better plan for the next.

Following is a wonderful Advent message given by Archbishop Williams.  I hope you find it as much a blessing and inspiration as I have.

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