Friday of the Third Week of Advent
Book of the Prophet Jeremiah 23:5-8; Psalm 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19;
Advent is anticipation! However, most of us don't think about what we are to anticipate in the way that Jeremiah foretold in our first reading. He spoke of the coming of a new age, of justice and restoration. Now is the advent of peace, rescue from affliction, and the fulfillment of justice!
In this time of holiday busyness, it is not easy to think about the people afflicted with injustices, poverty, and circumstances that do not allow them to celebrate as they would like. Additionally, it isn't easy for the afflicted to be comforted by the Good News that God is in their midst. Their experiences shape them quite a different reality. It would seem that today's lessons and the story of the birth of Jesus are irrelevant to the world in which we live. It seems that it is much easier to reduce it all to a consumer fun fest and family festivities, which is something concrete that we can relate to.
I believe that it is more fitting at this time of Advent that we take out time to reflect on the message of peace and justice God sent in the birth of Jesus and to make ourselves ready for it to be a concrete reality. Our preparation for Christmas should be anticipation that God will rescue us from all the sin and suffering in this world that separates us from God and each other. The rescue that I speak of is for all of us, regardless of our afflictions.
Friends, we usually receive more blessings out of the Advent season if we anticipate the coming of Christ with peace and justice than if we anticipate gathering with our friends and family for food and gifts. We also feel that presence more when we center our anticipation in the midst of poverty and pain. While parties, presents, and laughter are also gifts from God, we should not lose sight that only a privileged few enjoy them in this world. It bears repeating that the true gifts of Christmas are peace, justice, and love for everyone.
Question of the Day: How will this time of anticipation lead you to more concrete ways to share God's peace and justice on earth.
Prayer: Father, during this season of Advent, we anticipate that You rescue, renew, restore, and redeem us through the birth of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.