By AnnAliese Harry
“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.”~Matthew 24:43
Blessings on this First Sunday of Advent!
The air around us is filled with hope. For many, it’s eagerness for upcoming Christmas celebrations, and stores have been eagerly selling Christmas décor since before Halloween.
However, today’s Gospel also reminds us of the hope that we, as Christians, profess in the coming of our Savior.
We are firmly reminded that we must not wait in hope without preparation. So, the Advent season affords us the time to prepare – not just in the same manner as Anna and Simeon once prepared, but knowing our Savior has already come, to prepare for His Second Coming.
What does it look like to prepare with hope in our hearts?
First, stay close to the sacraments. Advent often ushers in penance services within dioceses, with Catholic churches local to each other staggering times for Reconciliation. These services allow us to come together, professing the belief in the forgiveness of sins and celebrating complete healing and restoration of our relationship with God the Father through the loving mercy of the Son.
Second, enter deeper into prayer. There are many Advent journals and devotionals which help readers focus and guide their thoughts on the hope of the upcoming Christmas season. We aren’t yet at Christmas; instead, these devotionals and journals guide us through this period of waiting, encouraging deeper, heartfelt conversations with our Creator, Who sent His only Son to our world.
Third, hold back just a little bit. Don’t hold back your joy! Rather, hold back the temptation to fully celebrate. Decorate your home but hold off putting Baby Jesus in your manger until Christmas Day. Put up the sparkly tree with lights and ornaments but save the star (or angel) until the last day of Advent. Decorate your tree with Jesse Tree ornaments, and the night before Christmas, swap them out for your traditional ornaments. Refrain from wishing a Merry Christmas, and instead, wish a Blessed Advent.
Importance of Preparation
As today’s Gospel reminds us, the owner of the house would not have left his (or her) home unattended, had he (or she) known they would have been robbed.
We are the homeowners of our hearts. We don’t know when our Lord will come to us or call us home. Therefore, we must be steadfast in our preparation.
Every day, we must remember that we are loved by God, and we are called to love in service of Him.
God’s love spurs us to action, and whatever the action looks like for our state of life, we find ourselves preparing our hearts for that moment in which we will face our Savior.
The preparation period of this Advent, and every day throughout our lives, gives us the confidence to stand in front of our Creator, knowing that we have known, loved, and served Him well.
Let us rejoice and be glad – for we have hope in our Savior and an eye toward a future with Him!
Ever-loving Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son, and the hope of salvation through His sacrifice. Help me to always spread the hope, love, and joy of Your Gospel through my thoughts, words, and actions.
Call to Action
This Advent, be intentional about celebrating the season of preparation. Hold back on the Christmas, and instead, prepare your hearts and homes in a way that will allow you to deepen your relationship with God.
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