We begin the second week of the season of Advent. Another candle is lit; more light is shed on your path. This is a season that calls us to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord who, in turn, calls us to go back to Him.
Throughout this season, the Word brings us strong images: paths to be straighter, trails to be cleared, people going and coming. To me, it looks like a snapshot of what goes on in the world these days: lots of people running left and right to get the best deals, to finish the Christmas shopping list. What is the difference?
Christians are people who live the same lives and do the same things as those who do not claim Jesus as Savior do. The difference is to be found in “how” we do things and “why” we do them. We prepare ourselves for Christ who comes; we prepare ourselves to live another year knowing that Jesus is truly Emmanuel: God with us. We share what we have, we exchange cards and gifts as a reminder that there is something and Someone greater behind all this – we acknowledge that we are all God’s gifts to each other.
The second reading challenges us to welcome each other as God as welcomed us in Christ. What can we do, this week, to extend our welcome to others, a simple gesture or word that can become someone feel welcomed, accepted… part of the family?
I always feel as though Advent is a wonderful season that comes at the wrong time of the year. It is totally overshadowed by the preparation of Christmas day. And there is nothing we can do about that but we can make an effort to remain grounded in this time of preparation. And it all begins with the courage to say “Here I am Lord, Let’s start again.” This time, let’s do things “your” way!
Angelo, a friend from Ancona, Italy told me this story: “One morning I walked into a church. But it was not like the other times. As I tried to recollect myself, I thought I heard a voice: “Give me the reins of your life.”
The silence around me became denser, and amazed by the irruption of such a thought I began to revise my life. It seemed to me that everything I had done had always been intended ‘to possess’ my life, to manage it in the best way. Now it was to be guided by Another with confidence and I was challenged to abandon my plans in the hands of Another that would be able to change me: it means that I have to act not according to my taste and my beliefs but in a “different way.”
Slowly the idea that came into my mind took roots and, as I began to think about it, it seemed to me that my life could really become a new adventure, something that I always thought life should be.
I do not remember if some particular decision was taken but without even thinking about it I realized that I was really able to give the reins of my life in an invisible “Other.”
And I know that of all the major decisions of my life this one is not mistaken, even if sometimes it is hard to follow.”