Three Comings of Christ – Part 3
As we begin this 4th Week of Advent let us finally reflect on the “First” coming of Christ. This is the one with which we are most familiar – or are we? I have come to use the phrase for home and outside Christmas decorations: “put them up whenever you wish, so long as you actually HAVE them up during the Christmas season itself – which lasts till the Baptism of the Lord.” So whether you’ve already decorated for Christmas, are just now putting things up, or wait till Christmas Eve, the REAL question is, are you PREPARING!
Too often when people ask one another this time of year, “So, are you ready for Christmas?” What they really mean is, are you ready for the social events of Christmas day: presents that you wish to bestow purchased and wrapped, food planned out, decorations up, etc. While all of those can be great contributors to celebrating Christmas, none of those could happen and one could be quite ready for “Christmas” or as the Church formally names it, “The celebration of the Nativity of our Lord.”
The word Christmas, of course, is a combining of “Christ’s Mass” – meaning Eucharist! People are rightly fond of the following expression: “Keep Christ in Christmas,” – they should be equally concerned with “Keep Mass in Christmas!”
Are we preparing for family gatherings or preparing for family gatherings that are focused on the great rejoicing that Our Lord came like us in all things but sin, all the way to being carried by Mary in her womb and being born as a baby!
Are we preparing only to see the delight in another’s face at the reception of our gift, or are we preparing to make that gift a beautiful reminder of God’s goodness and love to us by sending us the greatest Gift ever – A savior born to us?!
Are we preparing to pray with one another joyously in the way that Jesus Himself gave us – by celebrating the Eucharist! (In person, or if there is legitimate concern about the pandemic, via livestream)?
Keeping these in focus now in these last days of Advent are ways to “prepare the way of the Lord,” and to be prepared to truly celebrate His birth with one another – in a way that continually makes us better disciples who pray and rejoice with one another. We must strive to be “in” the world, without being “of” the world. What a great opportunity we have in this last week of Advent to focus ourselves, and so, be witness to Christ, Our Newborn Savior, when we celebrate His Birth in the Christmas Season!