Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.Matthew 24:42
I used to think of Advent as just the liturgical season before Christmas. I would wish Advent away and anticipate Christmas day. Now I understand Advent as not just a period of waiting, but of preparation. As I reflect on Advent, I think of Mary preparing for the birth of Jesus Christ. During this time, I think of how I can prepare for the second coming of our Savior.
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On the first Sunday of Advent, we light the first purple candle, which represents hope. The first candle is often called the prophecy candle, as we reflect on how Jesus’ birth was prophecised throughout the Old Testament. Jesus Christ is the most prophecised person throughout all of history. He was mentioned in the Old Testament hundreds of times as prophets promised the coming of a Savior. The first week of Advent recognizes these prophecies and notes that they’re going to be fulfilled.
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus encourages his apostles to stay awake. He tells them that no one will know the day or the hour when Jesus will come again. We must constantly prepare ourselves and stay ready for him. As Advent begins, think of ways to prepare your heart for Christ’s coming. Plan ways to grow in prayer. Get lost in God’s word by reading the Bible more often. Give of yourself through almsgiving or by spending extra time with loved ones. Embrace the sacraments more often by experiencing the Lord’s goodness in Confession and through the Eucharist. In all things, stay awake and prepare the way of the Lord as we wait in hope for him during this Advent.