“Lord our God,
help us to prepare
for the coming of Christ your Son.
May he find us waiting,
eager in joyful prayer . . . .”
This is the opening prayer for the Mass of the first weekday of Advent. When you stop and consider it, you realize that those few words sum up the entire nature of the holy season of Advent: “May he find us waiting, eager in joyful prayer.”
And more than that, they really sum up the fundamental nature of our entire Christian life, because Advent is a microcosm of our whole life on this earth. We Christians are a people who wait. The people of the Old Testament lived in waiting for the coming of the Messiah — the Redeemer, the Savior. He came; he preached his good news, he founded his Church, he suffered, died, and rose from the tomb. He ascended into heaven to prepare a place for us. He sent his Spirit into the Church to make it the means for us to become holy. And now, in harmony with the spiritual life of the Church itself, we wait again — this time for his coming at the end of our lives and the end of time.
Each year the Church presents to us this holy season of Advent to remind us that we are awaiting Christ. And to make that wait more tangible, more human, easier to understand, she offers us the great festival of the Birth of Jesus — we call it Christmas. If we celebrate Christmas as we should, it becomes a reason for great joy for that which happened in the past, and that which will happen in the future. Christ came; Christ will come. We are between those two comings. That’s what the word Advent means: the coming. The coming of Christ.
We prepare to celebrate Christmas by decorating our homes, our streets, our churches. What about our souls? What will you do to prepare your soul, your heart, to welcome Christ this Christmas? It’s fine to put up a string of lights somewhere. But more appropriate for us is to use the Rosary, which is a string of beads with which we pray. It can adorn our souls as strings of lights adorn the facades of our homes. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.