The Gospel today reminds us to stay awake...to prepare ourselves. Much as we prepare our houses for the holidays, we should prepare our souls and our hearts for the coming of the Lord.
Advent is such a beautiful time. It's a new Liturgical Year; a time for another chance to get ready for the Lord. Much like the Calendar New Year is a time for resolutions and a chance to start over, Advent gives us the chance to do the same, but in a spiritual sense.
The days are shorter, it gets darker earlier...but there are the candles from the Advent Wreath making us aware of the light that is to come. It's a reminder that hope is there. We don't know the hour or the day; we have to stay awake and be ready.
I'm ready to be re-energized and get out of my spiritual drought. I'm ready to get in spiritual shape for the coming of our Lord. I'm ready for Ordinary Time to be over, because it really was just "ordinary" for me.
The priest spoke of the difference between expectations and reality. As we anticipate an event, we have an expectation of what it will be like; however, the reality usually doesn't live up to the expectations. When my boys were growing up, I expected to have perfect Christmases. I wanted everything to be perfect; from the meals to the presents. I pictured the family watching Christmas movies, eating popcorn, and getting along. The reality is that we haven't had a perfect Christmas; I truly believe there is no such thing. There were years that the tree was almost knocked down from the wrestling, dinners that didn't turn out right, and the boys were late for Christmas Eve Dinner. All the preparation and it didn't turn out perfectly. Looking back, had I focused on truly preparing myself and the boys for Christmas, maybe all of that wouldn't have mattered.
Much like preparing for a big event, it is necessary to prepare ourselves for the big day...the day when we will meet Jesus face-to-face. What will it be like to hear him say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21)? Isn't that something we all would like to hear?
It is necessary that we stay awake and be prepared. Advent is the perfect time to begin the preparation. We're all travelers on the journey...are you prepared?