A New Year

Another year just ended yesterday, that is, the liturgical year. Today, we usher in the Season of Advent with all its symbols and colors. The blessing of the Advent wreath during the mass symbolizes a four-week preparation for the important season of Christmas, the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. But how can we deepen our understanding of the Advent Season?

Advent has several meanings, such as, coming or arrival. It may also suggest the notion of beginning like the introduction of technology. But for Christians, it is the penitential season beginning four Sundays before Christmas or the coming of Christ as the incarnation or as judge on the last day. Most of us would associate Advent with the second coming as we have seen how Christ became human.

How does one prepare oneself for this special season?

We can refer to the second reading, which is a prayer, expressly directed to Christ the Lord, for the Thessalonians to grow in love both for members of the community and those outside, the example of which has been given by the apostolic missionaries themselves. This growth in love is equated with holiness and is the guarantee of deliverance and salvation at the Lord’s return. The holy ones who are present with Christ at his Second Coming are those faithful who have died before it occurs.

Paul then enjoins constancy in their Christian manner. There is no change of direction, only exhorting them to further growth. The elect is to be clothed with the virtues of Christ as they look to Christ’s return.

Concretely, this may mean our capacity to look honestly into our lives and see what areas we could possibly experience conversion.

In this season of Advent as we prepare for the coming of the Lord in our lives, let it be a time for vigilance particularly in our disposition to live holy lives by beginning to gradually let go of certain attachments whether these pertain to material things or for hurts and ill feelings that we continue to harbor in our hearts. Rather, let the Lord enter into our lives more fully knowing that this, in the end, is the essence of our life.

We pray for the grace of continual conversion, a turning back from anything that enslaves us knowing that this is the best way to prepare for the coming of the Lord Jesus this Christmas. Let us pray that the coming of Christ may find us steadfast in faith, joyful in hope, and untiring in love.