Today we celebrate the first Sunday of Advent, a new Church year and a period of preparation for the event of Christ Jesus’s birth.
I wonder how many of us will be caught up with the usual Christmas preparation, getting decorations and buying presents and buying food that lasts for weeks afterwards, and baking cakes and mince pies and other things, to share with family and friends.
But I think we have lost the real meaning of Christmas because Jesus was born in the humble place, a stable with no door – just a cloak to keep the warmth in, a plain and simple place, among all the animals, He was wrapped in cloth, and laid in a manger, the most humble of beginnings.
There were no fancy lights – just the lights of the stars, no decorations or Christmas trees, and no feast that would feed all of Bethlehem.
We must also think of those people in our own countries who are living in poverty, people who have no warm bed to sleep in, and families that can’t buy presents for their children, let alone have a fancy meal. And yet I look to those people at this time of year, because they are like Christ, they may be poor, material wise, but they are rich in the Holy Spirit, they have nothing to give, and yet they give everything they have.
Also we need to prepare our hearts and souls to welcome Christ into our lives; the image of the Light of the Word comes to mind, Jesus knocking at the door – all we have to do is open it.
Don’t be afraid to open wide the door to Christ, and give him complete control of your life. I know from my own life that it is easy to say, “Come, Lord Jesus take control of my life… but I don’t want to do this or that.” When you open the door to Christ, give him complete control because he knows what to do with us, what we can deal with, he knows everything. I know how difficult it can be to let someone have control of your life, not knowing what is round the corner and how to cope with the challenges of life. But what we sometimes forget is that Jesus went through everything that we go through, temptation, heartache, sorrows and joyful times too. And he got through it because God was leading him and helped him also.
Advent is a time of preparation, so spend some time in prayer, in church, or at home. At this time of year, I like to sit in silence in front of the Nativity scene and see the infant Jesus laying there in the manger. Perhaps you might, too. Don’t say anything, sit in silence and let your heart do the praying and say “Yes” to Christ and let him into yours lives and let him guide you in your true vocation as Christians. Amen.
Let us pray
Lord Jesus, come and show us how to live and be like you in humility, and service to our fellow brothers and sisters in our world. Help us to prepare for your coming in our hearts and souls. Let us think of all those in need and those Christians living in the Holy Lands and let there be an end to war and let peace reign in our world and our hearts. Come Lord Jesus. Amen.