Like just about everything this year, the season of Advent will be different in a number of ways. I am considering four important words we will see in sacred scripture, reflection pieces, and other spiritual offerings: awake, prepare, rejoice, and behold. Often the first word in one of the Sunday readings during Advent, each one may grab our attention as if in boldface type—and that is a good thing!
Awake. Pay attention! We have had to be so alert and careful about avoiding the COVID virus contagion that we are weary. However, this Awake we are seeing is a more positive encouragement. Wake up and hear the wonderful news: the best is yet to come! Sure, we have to watch out to avoid anything that will make us too content in our earthly comfort zones. Jesus came to save us and will come again at the end of time. Be ready! Be joyful! It’s really good news!
Lord, send me gentle reminders to be vigilant,
to grasp more fully my responsibility to focus
on opportunities for goodness and positivity.
Teach me to celebrate that I am graced
with your message of salvation and am waiting
to see your awesome face in our kingdom of everlasting love. Amen.
Prepare. John the Baptist was very good at his job of preparing the way of the Lord. He did his work, and we can do ours. Regardless of the world situation, we can all be creative as we give witness, example, and encouragement to others—in mundane issues but, more importantly, in spiritual things. So many people are preparing their houses for Christmas with bright fancy decorations, but how much more important is the preparation we do to repent of our sins, to open the windows of our hearts to let the Holy Spirit decorate our lives with hope.
I ask you, John the Baptist, to intercede for me
that I may shake off the shackles of complacency and habit
so as to make straight my path to the Lord and his to me.
Help me to convey the message of the truth of Christmas
in pure and simple ways. Amen.
Rejoice. Everything seems easier if we can smile. Sure, the sickness and conflicts in the world cause weeping and confusion, but rejoicing goes deeper than being happy. We have a loving Father, a Savior, and a Holy Spirit—-the Holy Trinity that never leaves us alone in our troubles. Soon we will commemorate the Incarnation on a special feast day, but we can keep that celebration going by maintaining a prayerful relationship all year long.
Lord, teach me to comprehend the wonder of your gift of yourself.
Help me to smile at my imperfections and rejoice in the hope
You inspire in me every day. I am truly grateful. Amen.
Behold. Unlike some politicians and salespeople, the Lord makes promises that come to fruition. God the Father promised a Savior, and soon we will celebrate that Savior’s birthday again. Mary said yes to becoming the mother of God’s Son, and she did it! Behold! Promises made and promises kept!
Father, God, give me strength and perseverance
to keep the loving promises I make to you, myself, and others
during every season of the year.
Thank you for showing me how it is done!
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, CT. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.