St. Paul tells us to “awake from sleep.” We start the work of our faith by asking hard questions—about the simple and obvious; the complicated and subtle. Here are simple to more challenging questions: are we worshipping and praying by rote? Are we so busy with the secular customs of Christmas that God falls low on the list of “things to do?” Is there so much Christmas carol “white-noise” that we can’t hear God’s voice?
Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew today refers to Noah, and like Noah prepared his ark according to God’s plan for salvation, so we must ready our souls to make them worthy for his return. He tells us to be vigilant always: “stay awake!” We do not know when he will return; we must be prepared for when he comes again. The ark was Noah’s vehicle of salvation; Christ is our “vehicle” of salvation. We must shed light on our old destructive ways, our self-centered and compromised lives of disobedience and obliviousness to God. No more choice for war, for apathy, for sin, for darkness, for terror, greed and fear. We must turn to the light of Christ to lead us home.
The Church, in wisdom, organizes our seasons and festival worship as it does to help us shake ourselves from our religious stupors and use this season to refresh our faith. We are given the opportunity to awaken our spirits, to participate fully, actively and consciously again in praise and worship of the God of Jacob.
In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus tells us to be prepared for His return. We can begin as our Psalm response today enjoins us: to come in joy to the house of the Lord. Last weekend we celebrated the Solemnity of Christ the King and we asked Christ to remember us when he comes into His kingdom. How will we be remembered? This weekend we bless and light the Advent Wreath⎯an image of light that represents the coming of the light of Christ into the world and into our hearts. Advent is a gift of time for us to rededicate ourselves to holiness. As we light our Advent wreath, we praise God for all the advents of His son: yesterday, today and forever. So come; let us go rejoicing to the House of the Lord.
Just a Note: Save the Date: Our Advent Pageant: “Cradle, Cross and Crown will take place on Sunday, December 11 at 4:00pm in Church. This is a fund and food raiser for Christmas giving after emptying our Food Pantry for the Thanksgiving holidays. Please come and join us as we celebrate the season and feed those less fortunate.