Advent always brings to mind the opening scene of the movie “Godspell” in which John the Baptist is standing at a fountain in Central Park sounding a ram’s horn and singing “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord.” I guess the reason I like it is that it reminds us that the Gospel message is the same for us in New York or Dallas or McKinney today as it was in Palestine at the time of Jesus.
Advent comes from the Latin for “coming” and long before the Church began observing Christmas as a feast in the 3rd or 4th centuries, Christians looked forward with hope and expectation to the second coming of Jesus. One of the most ancient Christian statements of faith is “māranā ‘ tā” (maranatha) which is Aramaic for “come our Lord” (1 Cor. 16:22).
In the hubbub of our busy world it is very easy to forget that as Catholic Christians we are awaiting the return of Jesus at the end of time, even though we are reminded regularly at Mass when we acclaim that “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.” So each year during the season of Advent the Church reminds us that the center point of our faith is the Incarnation, Christ becoming human.
Advent is a time to reset our navigation system to be sure it is set for the right destination. Remember this is a time of hope and expectation, a time to rejoice. It is a time to put things in perspective.
How do we prepare the way for the Lord? St. Paul has a pretty good answer in his letter to the Church in Rome: “Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality.” Romans 12:12
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