First Sunday in Advent – Deacon Andy Grebe

Over the past couple of weeks, we have been working with our Confirmation Candidates and First Reconciliation classes to prepare them for the sacraments that they will be receiving later this year.  Specifically, we have been teaching them about reconciliation, not CONFESSION that many, if not most of us probably remember from when we were kids… where we sat is a small dark booth and we couldn’t see the priest.  That was scary for me. Rather we have been teaching them about RECONCILIATION where they, and we have the opportunity to receive the grace of absolution that is available to all of us whenever we feel that we are drifting away from Christ and the model he gave us to live by.

And, with our celebration of the beginning of Advent this weekend I couldn’t help but to be reminded that Advent is also a time when we can be reconciled with God, a time of preparation.  A time when we have the opportunity – if we take the time, and put in the effort – to prepare for His coming.

It is interesting that although we all know that Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year, a time of preparation, and for the remembrance of the celebration of Christ’s birth 2000 years ago… I fear that many of us often forget that Advent is also a time that we are reminded that Jesus will come again, not as a baby, but in a cloud with power and great glory!

So let me ask you to think for a minute… How are you preparing for that day?

I’m sure many, if not most of you are busy, like Mary and me:

  • cleaning our house
  • decorating our lawn
  • planning the family Christmas dinner
  • looking for the perfect gift for each of the people we love

All important and time consuming activities that keep us busy at this exciting time of year.

At the same time unfortunately, I’m also afraid that these activities distract us from an opportunity that God places before us at this time each year.

An opportunity to draw closer to God through reconciliation with Him.

You see, Advent is a time to prepare!  A time to look at our lives, to examine how we live and our relationship with God.  And, it is a time for each of us to ask ourselves, “How well do I know Jesus?”

Obviously the only person I can even begin to answer that question for is myself, but I think… I pray that I can give each of you some different ways to think about how well you know Him.  And through these questions hopefully give all of us some new ways to deepen our relationship with Him as we prepare for His coming.

So here they are:

  • If Jesus were to come today… Are we prepared to meet Him?  Would we even recognize Him?  Remember He lives in each and every person we meet throughout your lives.
  • Does our preparation include repentance?  Do we spend the time to examine our lives and think about what changes we can make that will draw us closer to God?  Do we work on making the changes that we know we should be making?
  • Do we think about the things that we do that separate us from God?  Do we seek God’s help to identify the areas in our lives that could use some work?
  • In preparing to meet Jesus Christ when he comes in a cloud with power and great glory do we try to live by the model that He gave us?
  • Do we forgive?  Have we forgiven those who have hurt us?  And here is the really hard one… Have we forgiven those who hurt someone we love?

It is my prayer that as we journey through Advent this year we will all support each other as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ 2000 years ago, and as we prepare to meet Him when He comes again with power and glory.

I will leave you with a couple of thoughts to ponder as you journey through Advent this year.

Preparation takes work!  Are we helping others with their work?

Repentance needs support!  Have we asked ourselves what do we need to change in and about our lives?  Have we asked for help to make those changes?  Have we asked ourselves are we open to accepting the help that we need?

Forgiveness needs God!  Have we asked for God’s help to forgive those who have hurt us or someone we love?

Remember through forgiveness we repent, and through repentance we prepare to meet Him when He comes.