ADVENT – WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?
"Stay awake", says the Lord.What for? As a child there was one day every year when I tried to stay awake – and that was to see Santa Claus coming during Christmas Eve night. Not exactly what Jesus had in mind, but it's not a bad image. We are exhorted by the prophets and by Jesus himself to "stay awake because you know not the day nor the hour." That could sound like a threat – depending on what you are expecting. I did not know the hour at which Santa would come, but I certainly did not consider it a threat - something wonderful and worth waiting for.
A child might write a letter listing certain things she wants, material things that she can see and handle. If you wrote a letter to Christ, what would you ask for?Probably not something material so much as a change to take place in yourself or for something to happen to someone else in need. Perhaps something like this: 1) please make me more loving 2) make me more generous and kind 3) let me find happiness in other people's happiness.
When Isaiah wrote (this Sunday's first reading), his letter to God was not just a polite request but almost blaming God for not having granted it already: "Why, Lord, leave us to stray from your ways and harden our hearts against fearing you?" That is the sort of gift we might ask Christ to bring us this Christmas time and in that case Advent would be a time of trust, an expression of our faith in the possibility of a better world.We can do good to the poor, the elderly, the homeless. We don't have to be at each other's throats – we can become real examples of faith and love, peacemakers. Write your Christmas letter to Christ.
Fr. Michael Barrow, SJ