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Advent – The First Coming of Jesus

Are there times in our lives when we say things so often that we forget what their true meaning is?  How about the word Advent since today we are celebrating the beginning of Advent?

What exactly does the word Advent mean? Looking it up in the Webster College dictionary, Advent means the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.  It comes from the Latin ‘ad’ meaning ‘to’ and ‘venir’ which means ‘come’.  The Church in its wisdom aptly called this season we are now beginning Advent.  Why?  Because we are awaiting the arrival, To Come, of a Very Notable Person – Jesus Christ.

Sunday’s Gospel for 29 November 2020, Jesus said to his disciples, “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.”  What time is Jesus referring to?  The end of time! It may seem a tad strange to start the beginning of the Church year by speaking about the end of the world.

Now, with the beginning of Advent, we have the first coming of Jesus, the moment of Incarnation, with Jesus being born and thus the beginning of Christianity. So, we speak of the first coming and the last coming. There is also another coming which forms an important and indispensable link between these two events.   That coming is the welcoming of a very notable person into our lives in the here and now – our Savior, Jesus Christ.   

This small innocent child who assists and supports us with not only the beginning but helping us sustain our spiritual journeys. We often think of a child as powerless.  And yes, it is true that infants are of the most vulnerable. They can also have great power over us.  A normal child when first born and laid in his/her parent’s, grandparent’s, family members’ or other loved one’s arms can truly melt one’s heart.  Just looking at the child can help a person with an exceedingly difficult decision to perhaps stop smoking or take care of their health in other ways just a bit more.  For the love of that child instantaneously can change a grown person to do things that others had been harping on them for years to do.  So, a human infant baby is not physically strong but can change a person to do what is right for them. 

Think of what the Child Jesus did? He brought kings to worry about their power and other kings to do Him homage. It is this power from the moment of the birth of Jesus which gives us the ability to fully understand He is the son of God and will support us throughout our spiritual journey.  A spiritual life where we decide where we want to go, one that will influence what we do and will guide our choices.

When we take a bus or train, we know our destination and we know, more or less, how much time we need to get there. On the bus or train of life we need to keep in mind our final destination, but we do not know how much time we have for that journey. For some it may be very long (90 plus years). For others it may be much shorter (30, 20, 10 years or even only a few months or weeks).  The length of the journey is not important although we worry about it a lot.

What is important is what we do during that journey.  To be aware of Jesus’ presence and prepared for his Second Coming, then every moment of every day we must be ever conscious of seeing Jesus in all those that come into our life. We need to be ready to get off the bus or train at any point and go to our final resting place. 

The important thing is: Be prepared. Do not be afraid, do not worry. Fear, worry, and anxiety do not solve any problems. Fear, worry, and anxiety are about things which do not yet exist and most probably will never exist as we imagine them.

A good life consists not so much in the kind of work we do or how “successful” we are but how we have related with other people – with family, other relatives, friends, colleagues, and total strangers.

By welcoming Jesus into our lives, we acknowledge the First Coming of Jesus being born in Bethlehem who spiritually gives us the strength along our journey to be watchful/alert.  And, with the beginning of Advent, we can reflect on the first coming of the infant Jesus, powerful as a child, and prepared when we stand before the Son of Man at His second coming.  Blessings – Dcn Jim