The Last Advent Ever!
Living Advent as if it’s the last one!
Everyone has heard all the predictions in recent years regarding the end of the world. We all remember Harold Camping’s big fail on May 21, 2011. And, then there was the supposed Mayan Apocalypse that had many people worried, and so on.
Most people knew the world would not end. However, someday it will. Our own lives will most likely end before that. How long do each of us have to live? We were all given a number, and when that number is called, it’s time to go. That number may be called tomorrow, next month, or in 50 years. If your number was called tomorrow, would you be ready? If you were to hit Judgment Day tomorrow morning at 11am, or even tonight at 11pm, would you be ready?
This is what we have to think about. this is what Advent is about, preparing for the Lord’s Second Coming. Preparing for our meeting with Him and being prepared to do so. Remember, Jesus Himself warned us that death will come for us like a thief in the night. We don’t know the day or hour, and so must always be prepared and live everyday with purpose.
This is what I have been thinking about in my own life. A priest once asked a thought provoking question, “What is Advent for you? Is it a time of deep prayer, repentance and coming closer to Jesus? Or is it about materialism and consumerism?”
My mind immediately rushed to all the presents I still had to buy, the decorations that still needed to be hung, and lists of unfinished tasks. Doh! While these things aren’t necessarily bad, was I living my Advent for Jesus too? Was my task list (which will not help me get to heaven) the priority in my Advent, or was making a conscious effort to pray more, uproot sin, and make more room in my heart for Jesus the priority? If I died today, which would be more important? I think sometimes we need to live with more of an eternal perspective, myself included. I had to admit that I could do more in that department.
It all got me thinking about the end of my life and the end of the world. If I was to die tomorrow, or tonight – or, if you were – how would we live differently? What changes would we make? In thoughts, actions, and behaviors? What would I start doing more of, and what would I stop doing? These are questions I would encourage us all to think about.
Are we living our life and our Advent as if Christ is coming soon? Are we really making any more room for King Jesus, trying to deepen our relationship with Him, and preparing for heaven? If so, how?
Some suggestions could be: praying more often and more deeply, thinking about God more throughout the day, uprooting sins that we know displease God and will keep us out of heaven, be more giving and charitable to friends and family, the poor, and those in need, working on a certain virtue, and so on.
It could be getting back into the habit of daily prayer or reading the Bible more. Perhaps it’s being more loving and kind to those who it’s hard to love; it could be working to forgive someone we don’t really want to forgive. We could choose to better ourselves in some way, (seeking to overcome anger, sloth (spiritual laziness), lying, or being materialistic; we could work on being more patient, kind, or more present to our spouse or children, keeping promises we make to others, and so on). This is Advent! It’s a time of preparation and rejoicing, so we should not challenge ourselves the same way we do in Lent, but rather in a way that is lighter, joyful and hopeful.
As for myself, I am trying to take more quiet time with God this Advent to cultivate a deeper and more personal relationship with Him. I am trying to give more time to prayer in a season where it’s easy to give less time because of holiday hustle and bustle. In addition, I have chosen one fault to work on that I struggle with (there are many). Over the course of Advent, and through the Christmas season, I will work on this fault, this weakness, and hopefully end up in a better place by the end of Christmas, making myself more virtuous person with more room in my heart for Savior.
Lastly, I’ve always liked what St. Padre Pio, has to say: “One thing is necessary: to be near Jesus.” Think about that quote this Advent. St. Pio goes on to reveal how the shepherds in the fields received heavenly messages from angels while hearing angelic chants not of this world. They must have been raptured in ecstasy. St. Pio then reveals that the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph did not see angels or hear any heavenly choirs, but only experienced a crying baby by a dim light alone in a cold cave. But which one is infinitely more grand? Wouldn’t we rather be with the child Jesus (God made man) in a dark stale cave or with angels and the most beautiful singing imaginable?
Of course, to be close to Jesus is the greatest thing in the universe. In all the universes. So, the question is… are we close to Jesus? If you are like me, you may find yourself doing a lot for Jesus, or thinking about Him, or even talking about Him, but do we actually know Him? Are we close to Him? If not, that’s what Advent is for! To come closer to Him or go even deeper with the God who made us, gave us life, and loves us more than anything else in creation.
Have a blessed Advent and glorious Christmas season!