December 4, 2022
by Vivian Amu
St. John's Parish
click here for photo and information about the writer

Second Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 4

Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
Matthew 3:1-12

Praying Advent Home Page

Why is it so difficult to enter into Advent?

Becoming John the Baptist - Preparing the Way for Jesus

Praying Advent as Parents
Preparing Children for Advent

Experiencing Advent Deeply for Busy People

During this time of the year, every television commercial, every department store, and even most of our conversations focus our attention on Christmas plans.  We begin to turn our attention to whom to invite over for dinner and what gifts to give family and friends.  For some, Christmas represents loneliness, loss, and unbearable anxiety.  For them, Advent becomes a painful waiting period before the reopening of a wound, and a reminder of their aloneness in this world.  Sometimes we forget to stay in the moment of Advent a bit longer and more intentionally, even though it might seem easier to just look ahead.

I, just like most people, enjoy preparing my home with festive decorations, planning delicious meals and family time, as I anticipate Christmas.  So, I have often found myself either rushing through Advent or looking right over it to Christmas.  As the glitz, excitement, and maybe even a little anxiety of Christmas grabs our attention, John the Baptist also grabs our attention and prompts us to prepare in a deeper way.  John the Baptist, a man who lived what he preached, did not hold back when he informed everyone present for baptism that their task was to announce Christ by the way they lived; it was not enough to say that they were baptized.  This is a prompt I sit with quite often because my excuse for not being very intentional with Advent has been that I work in Church and do ministry every day, so I have convinced myself that I have done enough.  However, I find myself becoming complacent and overly comfortable with the flow of the Church calendar.  So much so that I move right through each week to the next thing or season. I find that preparing my heart to be a welcoming place for Jesus becomes an afterthought in the rushing around.  I have found myself increasingly more uncomfortable with Advent because it feels like just another period of waiting, which mirrors most of my life.  I become tired of preparing myself to wait and find myself creating numerous lists for future tasks. In the process, I miss Advent, which is the announcement of love that is and love to come. 

So, today I am quite drawn to the prompt of John the Baptist to prepare in a deeper way to experience God and to do God’s work, to repent, forgive, and bear good fruit.  As we prepare our hearts, we prepare a way for God to enliven and transform us.  Preparing a way for God, preparing a welcoming place for Jesus in my heart, demands that I live a life that shows a spirit of understanding, wisdom, endurance, courage, harmony, truthfulness, authenticity, and reconciliation.  Preparing a way for the Lord and making the way straight also means listening to God intentionally and removing the blockages and obstacles which prevent God from coming close to me.  Advent might also be a good time for me to intentionally look into the parts of my life that need straightening out and then maybe in the process even find the courage to stay a little while longer in the discomfort of waiting and preparation which could sometimes fill the Advent space.

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