First Sunday in Advent

Scripture Readings:  Isaiah 63: 16-19, 64: 2-7;  1 Corinthians 1: 3-9;  Mark 13: 33-37


“Why do you let us wander, O Lord, for your ways and harden our hearts so that we fear you not?”

What a great line from Isaiah in today’s first reading.  One might answer the question by saying:   free will.

“Why do you let us wander, O Lord, for your ways and harden our hearts so that we fear you not?”

Could it be, we have allowed all the distractions,  the noise,  the self-centeredness of the times to distract us from God, and his presence, and his love?

Advent is here and I’m not going to suggest we avoid Christmas shopping or stop listening to Christmas music.  But I am going to suggest that during this Advent 2014 we look every day for God’s presence in our lives and in our world.

Thanksgiving morning as I looked out from my kitchen window towards the river and the snow-covered landscape I thought to myself what a beautiful picture given by God.  Sure I’d be shoveling it very soon, along with you and lots of others but it was a gift for the moment.  A God given gift.

Awareness of God’s actions in our lives is at the heart of today’s reading from by Paul to the People of Corinth.   (Our Second Reading Today)

Just maybe this Advent as we go looking for the perfect gift or the perfect bargains, we can make the effort to see God’s work, God’s presence among us each day.

Maybe this Advent, we can be a bit more alert to goodness, kindness, compassion, happening in our lives and in our world.  Look for, watch for, the goodness of God in the greetings shared each day; the extra effort people take each day;  the beauty, the blessings  of God, that unfold before us through others, in daily events, in creation.

St. Paul reminded the people of Corinth they were blessed by God so that they could build up the community of faith, not tear it down.  These same words of St. Paul are today directed toward each of us who are blessed by God so we might build up the community of faith.

Just maybe – as a suggestion – over the coming 25 days of Advent leading to Christmas – keep a written log (maybe just a sentence, or a phrase per day) – of at least one way you experienced, you saw the goodness, the blessings, the presence of God.

And then come Christmas, as we unwrap the many gifts of Christmas Day, we might take out the list of the Advent and remember the gifts of God the past 25 days; that reminder that God is always with us, that reminder that God always blesses us with his Son, Jesus, and so much more.

Look…Watch…be alert!

Yes, God is in our midst.  Yes, God continues to come into our midst.

Today Jesus says the same to us, as he did some 2000 years ago:  Watch!