There are many ways of saying it. Matthew, Mark and Luke agree that we should keep our eyes forward because Jesus will come again. Translators, of their Greek, used various words to pass these directions onto us. Christ is before us.
The Advent of the Lord is our future. We are all to be living in expectation of the Son of Man, descending on the clouds to reveal the kingdom of God, when the will of God “…will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Some Christians, Catholics included, celebrate a season which begins on the fourth Sunday before they celebrate the Word of God become flesh to be the light of men and women on Dec. 25. This Advent Season is a time of vigiling and prayer to refresh our appreciation of Jesus and what He means for our future. We get ready for the Second Coming as we ponder the events of the Christ coming to dwell among us.
Of course, this coming feast is Christmas. The Christmas season began last Sunday. On Dec. 25 we will celebrate the Nativity of the Lord. Into January, we celebrate the anniversary of other events marking the first coming of Christ including the Epiphany on Jan. 6 and the Sunday following the Baptism of the Lord, which ends the Christmas season. The Christmas season is about Christ coming to us. Preparing for CHRISTmas is to gather in prayer with other CHRISTians. To celebrate CHRISTmas is to gather in the name of CHRIST in order to offer praise and thanks to God. O how my heart opens to receive Jesus in His next coming!
At 6 p.m. last Thursday, our nation’s holiday season officially began with Black Friday, followed by Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. It will be a hectic time in the malls. There will be no parking spaces at Walmart for a month. We Americans will come together to shop with our neighbors. We will hum along during this most wonderful time of the year. On Christmas Day, we will open our gifts and we will share our gifts with people important to us. It will be at the end of this day the radio stations will stop playing holiday music. (Some families may keep going thru Jan 1.) Holiday trees come down and we may go to stores to exchange our gifts and to use our gift cards.
The holiday season and the Christmas Season only intersect at the dinner table on Christmas Day.
This month I will be reflecting on the Advent part of the Christmas Season. Now I reflect on a passage from Isaiah. Isaiah was God’s mouthpiece to prepare the Israelites for the coming of Jesus. His whole book makes a wonderful read for Advent. Isaiah drew wonderful pictures with his words. Matthew and Luke used some of these to introduce us to Jesus. Handel’s Messiah took much from him to make powerful Music. Christmas card companies use pieces of art to show us the advent of the Lord.
Please read Isaiah 11, 6-9. Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God. Isaiah envisioned that Kingdom where there would be no more enmity. On the mountain of God no harm or ruin. Isaiah sees nature transformed: …the wolf will be the guest of the lamb…the calf and the young lion will graze together…the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair. With Jesus…the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord.
Father Lawrence Heiney is minister at Holy Angels Roman Catholic Church in Mount Airy.