My favorite liturgical season is about to start, we've just celebrated the feast of Christ the King, and there are just a few days before Advent is here. I used to think that Advent 'snucks' up on us, catching us unaware of how fast the year has gone by before Christmas arrives, and a new year follows. Often lost in the pervasive Christmas-y decorations that have gone up in department stores way before Advent is even here, is the idea that Advent is a period of waiting.
From the Old Testament, we learn that our elder brothers in faith, the Jews, are people who knows the meaning of waiting. From Abraham, who waited until his old age to see the Lord's promise of innumerable descendants, to the Isralites under the yoke of Egyptian slavery, to those who wander (and perish) in the desert for 40 years before they set their sight on the promised land, the Jews are People who wait, a People of hope. And so are we, the people who live after our Lord entered time, we are a people who hope to see behold His countenance one day.
In our daily lives, there are many moments when we hope and long for the arrival of something: birth of a child, liberation from tyranny, recovery from a long sickness, or even, an end to a long, arduous project at work. It is in these moments that we labor to bring Christ into the world. In yesterday's feast, we are reminded that Christ is King, and His kingdom, while not of this world, is in this world, and we, His soldiers, need to conquer ourselves to spread His kingdom. It makes no sense to suffer, to sacrifice and to love, if we are not people of Hope. Christ had come to redeem us, and Christ will come again.
Every year Advent comes upon us, reliving the anticipation of the drama of Incarnation, where God truly becomes one of us. Isn't this Truth something that all human heart secretly longs for? Saints lead their entire lives in anticipation, and sometimes they even lead a foretaste of an eternal life with God, where our souls no longer suffer under the yoke of the world's trials, where God wipes every tear from our faces.
Let us contemplate the humility and the majesty of our God who enter into our life as a mere child; He who could appear anywhere, anytime as anyone, chose not to reveal His glory, but to live His own obscure Advent for thirty years! Every Advent we are reminded of the ethereal nature of our lives here on earth, and it is but one lifelong Advent period to prepare for the coming of God into our lives.
(Written for a newsletter)