What are you waiting for – Christmas?

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Opening day of hunting season finds me, like many of our parishioners, watching and waiting for the chance to fill my larder with venison. Watching and waiting, not knowing when a deer might appear, not knowing for sure if it will even happen this season. I focus my full attention on the hunt. If I don’t, I’m likely to miss being ready for a shot when a deer does appear.

In today’s Gospel we are called to be alert and ready for the coming of the Savior. Yet the Babe was born over 2000 years ago, so what is it we, today, are watching and waiting for? Some wait for happiness, thinking it will come with material wealth. Some look for pain to go away, or for problems to be resolved or disappear. We mostly wait for something more, something to bring us love and fulfillment, something we can’t quite put our finger on. We ache with an emptiness that can only be filled by the presence of the living Lord. And so we wait, hungering for Christ’s return.

During the Advent season the Church asks us all to prepare for the coming of Christ. This doesn’t mean attending to our shopping and decorating, but rather attending to our spiritual preparations. As we recall the longing for the first coming of the Messiah described in the Old Testament, we are to actively engage ourselves in waiting for the second coming. Beginning with our attitude, we are called to renew our own longing for Christ in our lives. Becoming more aware of God and how his love surrounds us is a good start. Perhaps updating our understanding, our imagery of God would be helpful. Secondly, if we focus on God’s presence in others and in the world around us, we won’t be so easily distracted by external things. Too often we allow the material demands of life to be primary in our lives. Finally, we need to make sure there is room in our daily lives, in our attention, for God. We need room for silence, for meditation, and for prayer. Be sure there is room in the inn. Be ready to have Christ move in and occupy your life.

It is Advent – a time to get excited about what’s coming. Like a deer hunter, we position ourselves in the best possible way to wait – not where it is most comfortable or entertaining, not where one’s attention may wander or where it is too easy to fall asleep. If we properly prepare ourselves, we will find what we are waiting for this Christmas in the conscious awareness of God – the gift of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit into the center of our lives. It’s time to get ready. What are you waiting for – Christmas?
Linda Crowley