Today we begin a new liturgical year. Today we begin our Advent preparation for Christmas.
The time moves quickly toward Christmas this year because we truly do not have a fourth week of
Advent – there is only a part of a day for the Fourth week and it is Christmas Eve. Our preparation, then,
has to be crammed into three weeks.
Are you busy enough yet, parents, teachers, grandparents, workers? Advent is a time of
preparation. Perfect. We are the preparers. We fill stockings, bake cookies, buy gifts, send out cards,
prepare parties, cut out snowflakes, hang lights, bake gingerbread houses, wrap presents, attend school
concerts, take pictures, decorate trees and mantles, and all of this on top of all the normal things we do.
But most of all, we try hard to make all this activity mean something. We the preparers prepare. That is
what we do.
The real truth though is that Advent is not about the meals we make but about that meal we
cannot make. The real truth is that Advent is not about the gift we give, but about the gift we receive.
The real truth is that Advent is not about my doing, but God’s doing. During Advent, we are not
celebrating what we can do but what we cannot do.
Advent reminds us in its darkness and waiting that we are not in charge. God is. God is the one
who comes to us. God approaches us – unasked for. The table is set. The bread is broken. The wine is
poured. The stable is ready. The sky is festooned. God approaches us. God is with us. God takes on
human flesh. As we sing in Handel’s Messiah, “Hallelujah, The Lord God omnipotent reigneth. The
Kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever
and ever. King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, King of Kings and Lord
of Lords, Forever…Hallelujah.”
The Advent preparation that I challenge you to do in the midst of everything else, is to surrender
to the truth that this is all God’s doing in the end. His willingness to take on our human flesh has forever
changed our world. His glory is already here, we do not need to bring it. We just need to surrender our
control, our preparation…enough…to see it.