It seems like every year, we have to go about a world already celebrating a season that hasn’t arrived yet.
“No, it is Advent time… wait a few weeks please!”
Are we just being scrooges? Or is there a deeper meaning to why we want to hold off on the celebration?
The answer lies in this past Sunday’s Gospel reading about John the Baptist:
“A voice of one crying out in the desert, Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths” (Matthew 3:3).
Why Must We Prepare?
Prepare the way of the Lord. First, because we are preparing for big events. The Incarnation, when God became man, and the birth of Jesus are game changers. They are fundamental events in the history of salvation. Obviously, for any big event, take a wedding for example, we need to prepare for it. The same applies for important events in the life of the Church, in the life of Christ.
This explanation might give way to a cute, inquisitive remark from a 5-year-old; “But I thought we celebrated Jesus’ birth last year. Isn’t he turning 1 this year?” What a great question, for it invites us to understand the role of seasons and how the Church emphasizes the life of Christ in ways that help us appreciate our walk with Him.
Advent is a time to remember that, at a certain point in history, Christ was not born yet; we were waiting for Him. Anticipation, fear, excitement, and hopefulness, are all emotions we can imagine feeling during that period. These are all emotions we have felt from time to time in our lives, as well. Our lives are connected with the life of Christ. Advent invites us to experience that beautiful period of waiting and trusting. Yes, we know how history unfolds and how the story ends, but we pray each season to receive the graces to be in that moment of time, and to allow our pondering and prayer to affect us in similar moments throughout our life.
You Don’t Have to Be Perfect
Preparation does not mean that we need to be perfect people by the time we celebrate the birth of Christ, but it does mean that we become open to receiving him, to receive what he is asking of us without fear, and to be open to Jesus transforming our lives in big and small ways.
As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI stated in his 2009 Christmas message,
“God manifested himself to humanity in the Incarnation of the Word to teach people a new way of living and loving.”
Happy Advent, Happy Preparing!
Daniel Quintero is a newlywed husband, writer, and avid karaoke singer. He currently attends Prince of Peace Catholic Church where he volunteers in the lector ministry and with faith formation. His favorite motto: “Awkwardness does not exist.”