As I’ve told you before my extended family lives in Ohio and North Carolina. When we were young we would take a trip to see both sets of family, it was a lot of driving, but we wanted to see family. One year, in particular, an unexpected event happened when we came home. I think I was about five at the time, and when we pull into the house, we have an unexpected visitor in the house. A squirrel had somehow found his way into our house. Chaos ensues as we seek to get rid of the squirrel. Being so young at the time I went into the hallway and closed the door behind me and peeked through the window to see what was going on. To make a long story short, my dog at the time, Lucy eventually scared the squirrel to run outside. What I believe happened is that the squirrel somehow climbed down our chimney, at-least that was the going theory. We left something open on the chimney that would have prevented him from getting in, but it was left open — looking back, if we were prepared for the unexpected we could have prevented it from getting in.
We are now entering into the season of advent, and during this season we are spending time preparing ourselves for the coming of Jesus Christ as Christmas. I haven’t started any of my shopping yet, but I know my parents have already put up their tree, and maybe some of you have done preparations in other ways. I know soon I will need to go shopping for different presents for family members and friends. I don’t do Black Friday, so I haven’t begun my holiday shopping yet.
However, our readings speak to us about a different type of preparation for the coming of Christmas. More importantly, the readings speak to us about the second coming. Jesus speaks about the second coming of man how one will be taken, and the other one will be left. This happens to us regularly as people are called from this world to himself and brought to their judgment before our God. But too Jesus is talking about the time that he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
As we hear as well in the Second reading, St. Paul encourages us to put on the armor of light and to put off those things that are not of God. St. Paul wants us to put off sin and evil practices and replace it with other Godly things.
What St. Paul and Jesus speak to us about is the importance of staying awake. Jesus gives us the parable of you don’t know the hour the thief would break into your home. If you did you would prevent that from happening. So he encourages those who follow him to stay awake and aware for the day of the Lord may come like a thief in the night. St. Paul as well tells us now is the time to awake from sleep because our salvation is closer than we first realized.
What our readings make clear to us is we need to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ not only when he comes again to judge the living and the dead but as well when Jesus calls us to himself again at the end of our own lives.
How then do we spend this season of advent preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ both at Christmas but also at the end of our lives? I believe first of all, as St. Paul spoke about putting on the armor of light and removing the works of darkness. Advent may be a good time not only to go to confession but also to do a good examination of conscience. We will have a penance service during Advent when multiple priests come to be able to hear your confession. However taking time to examine your conscience even daily can be a help to recognize the sin we struggle with and better overcome that struggle in our lives.
Jesus, too, calls us to stay awake and be prepared for the coming of our Lord. Now we don’t need to stay awake 24 hours a day seven days a week, but we do need to find time to be aware of God’s presence in our life. A goal I have for myself is to wake up early in the morning and spend time in prayer. Prayer is almost like my cup of coffee it helps me become aware of God’s presence in my life and how he is speaking to me. I encourage find a few moments of silence with the Lord as well. It doesn’t have to be much if you have never done it before start small and work your way to more and more silence.