An Advent Message from Father Tom
This weekend we begin a new liturgical year. It almost always catches people a little off-guard because they might expect images of manger scenes and little babies, but instead are faced with words speaking of the end of the world. Some of those words can seem somewhat frightening, but most of them actually offer great promise. The best example of this is this weekend’s First Reading, where God speaks of His coming to fulfill the promises made to save His people. The transformation from corruption to justice and security for the People of God is a promise all of us can hope for even today. The providing of peace for us is foretold, and this will be accomplished by His Son.
With this as the beginning of our Advent journey, we have much to do to prepare to receive this gift, which will be received at the birth of Christ. We need to reflect on what we have been promised and how we will work to receive these gifts. We should spend some time asking how best we can be open to the gifts when they come, and they are coming, of that there is to be no doubt.
Some of our preparation is so simple and even beautiful. We can begin by setting the externals of our life in a certain order, being sure that the homes we live in and the places we pray in are worthy settings to celebrate the coming of this new Light, the Lord Jesus himself, who is the light of the world. Decorations that remind us of this coming Light are a simple but profound way to enter into the movement of what is taking place. Yes, they are beautiful in themselves, but they also speak to our hearts, changing the view from a season of darkness to a season of fulfilled hopes and dreams.
As we prepare in this way we must also hear God’s voice asking us what we hope and dream for, as this will set the limits of what we will allow God to do for us. His desire to help us will always be grander and more glorious than our ability to imagine, so give some freedom to His will and ways, and let your hearts soar with hope for what really matters and what really lasts, in terms of what we are open to receiving from Him.
That last paragraph reminds me of a short snippet from a song, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.” The simple message is that our hope will conquer all fear, for the one who fulfills the hopes will wipe away all fear. With this thought as our beginning we begin our journey to Bethlehem.
God bless us all in this wondrous season!