2015 - Advent Reflection: Anticipation
In this first week of Advent, the Evangelist Luke reminds us of a tension inherent in this liturgical season. In these few short weeks, we both wait and prepare for Christ to return in glory at the end of time while we also await his entrance into our present lives in the form of an infant. We spend our entire lives looking and longing for the Christ — the King of the Universe — to be made known to us, but in this season of Advent we also wait patiently in a special way, with one new candle a week, to light the way for a mighty Savior to be born of a woman in Bethlehem.
Our faith invites us to hope without fully knowing when Christ’s return might be, but our Advent anticipation is rooted in an already-revealed certainty — that in Christ, God truly revealed Himself to us, and that the certainty of this presence of Emmanuel, “God-with-us,” incarnates a sure difference in the here and now.
This certainty, however, is not one that should allow us to grow lax or even comfortable. In this week’s Gospel, Christ reminds us that we must live daily within this tension of the “already-but-not-yet” of Advent. Our hope should be one of anticipation that calls us to thoughtful action. As the weeks draw closer to Christmas, it is easy to be distracted by the “anxieties of daily life,” but Christ calls us to be “vigilant at all times” to where He is revealing Himself in the days to come. So let us be a people that discerns the Advent tension, and longs to have it all — Christ in the grace-filled moments of the here and now, Christ in the ultimate joy, fulfillment, and end of all the universe.
God, our Comforter, fill us with the light of your love: a love that called the world out of darkness, a love from which nothing can separate us. May we never fear to reach out to others in need of your love all around us. We make this prayer through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
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