“Advent, like its cousin Lent, is a season for prayer and reformation of our hearts.” ~ Edward Hays
This is such a wonderful quote to consider today because, to be very honest, I love both of those cousins. Yes, Christmas and Easter have great meaning — Easter being the pinnacle of the faith — yet it is the seasons that precede Christmas and Easter that have much importance. Without them, we would enter the celebrations of Christmas and Easter cold and unprepared.
Advent is one of the power tools in our spiritual toolbox. It is used to soften our hearts, to sharpen our vision, and to open our minds to the wondrous possibilities of God in our world. This is necessary because we often close ourselves off from God as we become more consumed with our day-to-day existence. We somehow come to belief that everything that is important is in the here and now and that we have to do all that we can to grab the day for what it is worth.
Unfortunately, what we usually see and reach for are worldly goods and promises. We do not focus on the eternal because the world has caught our attention and distracted us from our heavenly goal. The world promises that it can provide joy and happiness and asks us why we should defer that joy and happiness when we can have it right away. Immediate gratification is the promise of the world and that often trumps the delayed gratification of heaven. Until.
That’s right. There’s that great big “until” staring us right in the eyes and reminding us that eternity is where we will be and not here on earth. All of a sudden then, the promises of the world, no matter how great and glorious and immediate they may be, are nothing compared to an eternal reward that awaits the faithful.
The season of Advent calls us to repentance and reform. It does so in a different manner than Lent but it nonetheless reminds us that we must set aside the things that keep us from God if we are to be prepared for the celebration of Christmas as well as for the time when our Lord, Jesus Christ, comes again. That Second Coming will be a moment of great glory and triumph for the faithful and a moment of dread and terror for those who have rejected God and put their hopes entirely in the world.
Can you imagine what it will feel like to see all that you had treasured and anchored your life upon come tumbling down? I don’t even want to think about that. I’d rather focus on the glory that awaits us all. However, if I am to hope for that glory, I have to do something about the way I life my faith here and now. Advent is a time of waiting and preparation. May your waiting be filled with expectant joy and your preparation draw you closer to God this day.
FAITH ACTION: As tasks increase in order to prepare for the upcoming holiday, make sure to continue the reformation of your heart in preparation for the Holy Day of Christmas.