Advent 2008

The season of Advent is a season of preparation. We prepare for Jesus’ coming in physical form to a Jewish couple 2,000 years ago as a remembrance. We prepare for Jesus’ coming again. We prepare for Jesus to be part of us. This is a time of expectancy.

Advent is time for us to be in hopeful expectation for the Lord as the psalmist says above. It takes courage to survive life. Certainly, life is easier than it was for the many generations that preceded us, but it was those generations who made it possible for the kind of life we live. Still, life can be rough. But with faith and expectation for God, we can endure what life may hand us.

I want to concentrate on preparing Jesus to be part of us. The feast of Christmas Day is also called the Incarnation of Our Lord. It is in the incarnation that God took human form. We and God call this god-man, Jesus. As St. Paul says, “God humbled himself to take on human form.” When Jesus was born, God knew what it is like to be human, because God was and is human beginning at that moment. We were joined to God and God to us. This, too, is incarnation.

We are asked in our baptisms and when we renew our baptismal vows to seek and serve Christ in all persons and love our neighbor as ourselves. In baptismal preparation when reflecting on this question, I say that Christ is in all people, but sometimes we have to look really hard with some people. We are not asked to make exceptions. We are asked to see Christ in all people. And as far as I can tell, everyone responds to the question with, “I will with God’s help.”

In Advent, we have an opportunity to reflect on this promise and how we will apply it in our lives until next Advent. If Christ is in us, Christ is in others. How will we seek and serve Christ in other people?

Perhaps one way to use Advent to reflect on this promise is to take time to slow down during this busy season and reflect on preparing our own bodies for Christ in us. When we recognize Christ in us, then it is easier to recognize Christ in others.

When we recognize Christ in others, we are much more apt to treat other people with respect. After all, wouldn’t we treat Christ with respect? If we become more aware of seeing Christ in others, we will see people differently – even those people where finding Christ is really, really hard. There just might be a chance that after being treated with respect, they might become more respectful.

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