November 27, 2022
by Maureen McCann Waldron
Creighton University - Retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

First Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 1

Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalms 122: 1-2, 3-4, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Matthew 24:37-44

Preparing for Advent


Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Praying Advent Resources


Stay awake! - Matthew 24:42

When I went for a long walk in our nearby park a few weeks ago, I was halfway through my journey before I even noticed how beautiful the changing leaves were.  So many reds and oranges, and my feet had been shuffling through piles of crisp leaves that had fallen on the ground.  It was breath-taking, and I had not noticed.  I had not paid attention – I had been busy planning my day.

Today’s readings are full of good news and reminders to pay attention.  It’s the perfect note as we start the season of Advent.  In the first reading, Isaiah wrote his message for a people who were beleaguered, as we are, by conflict, war, divisions and unjust rulers.  But to them – and us – Isaiah brings God’s message of peace and hope.  If we turn to the Lord, Isaiah promises battle spears will be turned into plow blades and war weapons into farm tools.  “One nation shall not raise the sword against the other, nor will they train for war again.”

Matthew’s Gospel encourages us to look for God’s presence each moment in our lives.  “Stay awake!  You do not know on which day your Lord will come.” We need to put our heads up and be alert for the loving presence of God with us each moment of the day.

As we begin our Advent, we may feel unready and have the urge to re-create ourselves into someone perfect.  Deep down, we know our own flaws: we might drink too much; take our spouse for granted, or ignore those around us who are suffering.  We pray for help – but at a distance. 

We may believe that if we aren’t perfect, we probably aren’t worthy of God’s love and affection. But that is not what God wants.  We can’t save ourselves, but it is God’s delight to come to save us.  Jesus is not waiting for our perfection, but for our attention.

Paying attention five minutes a day could change us and our Advent.  We could read the daily scriptures and the message of the season.  Perhaps we could set out a nativity image or a favorite creche scene. We can start our day by imagining the smelly, cold stable and harsh and undignified place that was Jesus’ first home.  This child, this savior, born into the stink of a shed full of animals, can certainly love us with all of our own embarrassing stench.

We can sit in silence and speak to Jesus about our upcoming busy, chaotic and confusing day.  We bring our worries and joys to Jesus and ask that our hearts be opened in new ways. We can close by asking for the grace to carry that peace with us to all those we encounter that day.  We can end our simple meditation by saying, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

Loving God, I am so aware of my imperfections and flaws, and my instinct is to come to you later – when I have cleaned up my act.  But when I quiet myself and sense your presence, I can feel that you come to meet me exactly as I am right now.   I recognize your love in my heart - beyond anything I can understand with my head.  Thank you for loving me exactly as I am.  Help me to pay attention in these weeks of Advent.  Come, Lord Jesus!

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