We prepare for the things we care about. Our care guides how we prepare.When you plan on going to see a movie you may prepare by hiding as much candy and other snacks in your pockets as space will allow—sometimes more than space will allow. If you’re going out to eat at a nice restaurant, you may prepare nicer clothing.
If your’e anything like me you probably don’t like guests showing up at your doorstep without advanced warning. Because you don’t like to be surprised, or caught off guard. You want time to straighten up your house, or clean a little. You may want to prepare extra food, or a desert. And you sure don’t’ want them showing up on a lazy Sunday if you spent the day in your pajamas after mass.
We prepare for things we care about, when we expect those things to happen. Advent is the season of preparation. Technically we’re in a type of advent season all year round. The entire Old Testament was a sort of advent as mankind waited in the darkness of sin for the arrival of the messiah. We’re in a similar advent now as we await the return of Jesus Christ, who promised to come again.
The Advent season is not a season of preparation for Christmas. It’s a season that reminds us that we are always waiting for the second coming, and that we must not meet the master unprepared. The season of waiting is now and it doesn’t end until the second coming. Advent merely reminds us of that. And it’s a special season where we redouble our efforts to prepare ourselves to greet the King of Kings—not in a manger, but when he comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead.
“Many of us spend more time preparing for Christmas…than we spend on preparing our souls…”
But many people don’t do much preparation throughout the year. Many of us spend more time preparing for Christmas, with gift shopping, decorating, and so on, than we spend preparing our souls to meet Jesus Christ. We forget that we will stand before him at some point, either at the second coming, or at our own judgement when our mortal lives end.
This year, let’s up our game. The Lord won’t call ahead to let us know that he’s coming. So, as the scripture today tells us, “watch that are not caught off your guard when the master returns.
Spend some time in adoration before the blessed sacrament. Spend some quiet time reading the scripture, and meditating on what you find there. Go to confession, not once, but two or even three times this Advent. And do a deep clean ruding one of those confessions—air out everything that maybe you never confessed before. Confess great sins, and small ones. Or re-confess old sins that you’ve already confessed.
Here’s a good exercise. Choose one or two flaws or vices that you typically struggle with and focus all of your effort to combat that flaw by doing its opposing virtue. If anger is your flaw, work harder to be patient and charitable, even when it’s hard to do. Whatever your flaw, whatever your main vice, identify it and work harder to do the opposite of that vice. It may be anger, or a lack of charity, or lust, or impatience. Whatever your main vice is, spend this Advent season diligently and energetically working against it. Over time the effort will change you.
Don’t squander this special season of Advent. Let us not be caught off guard when it comes time to face Jesus. Let’s aim to live particularly holy lives between now, and Christmas, and make every effort to maintain that pattern of living throughout the year.