Advent 4th

Well, we are at the last Sunday in Advent. Our preparations for the coming of Jesus are winding down, or revving up, depending on your point of view. This time has passed quickly and possibly not as successfully as we would have liked. Trying to prepare for someone’s coming into our house demands a lot of prep work: cleaning, cooking, baking… and much soul searching.

Where are you at this point? Have you made any inroads into the depths of your soul? Each of us has, over the years, accumulated a lot of baggage, stuff that we really don’t need nor want. The trouble with this “stuff” is that it has been with us so long, that we seem to accept it as part of ourselves. When we look to see what we need to get rid of, it (the stuff) doesn’t even show up on our radar. We see it as merely an extension of ourselves and skip over it.

Don’t lose hope, however. Every one of us is facing the same difficulty. In short, there are others in the same boat as we are. When pressed by the needs and difficulties that each day presents, we tend to look at our own “needs”, our own “difficulties” as trivial by comparison. And so, we pay them little or no attention. In doing so, we perpetuate these problems and help them “dig in” and become further entrenched within us.

In a few days, the world celebrates the feast of Christmas. This celebration takes on different aspects for each of us. Some will pay homage to the god of money and draw it closer to them. Some will look at material things as the purpose of Christmas and distribute them to others as “their way” of celebrating the season. But, step back and look at how it all started. Go back 2,000 years or so, and look at the Nativity scene. That happened and was necessary because mankind had turned its face to other “gods”, other “things”.

And so, God had to show us once again, the extent of how much He loves us. In time, He took on our human nature to show us how to live. He showed us what was really important in our lives, what we should be really concerned about. Goodness, Love, the Desire to help others in need, these and other positive ways of living are utmost in our lives. These are the “things” that make a difference. These are the gifts that we are to give to ALL that we meet, ALL who we visit. Much of the world does not see the value of these “presents”. And actually, it is this very blindness that prevents us from doing the “soul searching” that we must do throughout our lives.

So, even though you feel you haven’t made much progress throughout this Advent season, let it be the beginning of a new era for you. Let us begin to see what is and is not important in our lives. May you cradle the Christ Child in your arms, on Christmas Day, and recognize that our lives need to be gently nudged in a new direction. You will know that you have changed, when people are the most important “thing” in your life.