First Sunday of Advent
Matthew Reinhardt, Consecrated Member of Regnum Christi
Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
Jesus said to his disciples:"There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand. Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man."
Introductory Prayer: Heavenly Father, I come before you today to spend a few minutes with you, to be close to you, because you know how much I need your presence and grace in my life. My only intention during this time of prayer is to give you glory on your day, Sunday. Today, Lord, I accompany the whole Church as we begin the Advent Season and begin to prepare for your coming to earth as a baby on Christmas morning.
Petition:Lord, prepare my heart for Christmas
1. The World Then and Now. Dismay, perplexity, and fright could all be attitudes of nations and people around the world today. When Christ came to earth 2,000 years ago he encountered a world similar to the one we live in: far from God and full of anxiety. Many people of Christ’s time lived lives devoid of meaning because God had not yet sent his Son into the world. Today, as then, our world often lives as if Christ had never come to earth. Is all hope lost? Of course not, Christ is our hope!
2. Christ Is Coming. “They will see the Son of Man coming with power and great glory.” This is what Advent and Christmas is all about: Christ coming to earth to give us hope. On that cold, quiet, star-filled winter’s night in a little, poor cave in Bethlehem, God was born into our world. The Almighty came into the world as a small, poor, innocent baby adored only by his mother and father and some animals. Yes, this child is the reason for our hope, infinite hope, because he is an infinite God making an infinite act of love for us.
3. A Heart Checkup. Surprises can be pleasant, like an unexpected birthday party or a shocking close on a business deal. But they can also be unpleasant, like the pop quiz you were given at school or an unforeseen car accident. Will Christmas take me by surprise this year? The good news is that I know that it is coming: only 23 days away. Christ tells us, “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy and thus allow that day catch you by surprise.” Advent is a time to wake up to Christ in our life. We need to prepare our hearts for his coming on Christmas morning so that he can find in us a place where he is welcome and loved. Christ is the reason for the season!
Dialogue with Christ: Lord, help me during this Advent Season, which begins today, to see that the priority in my life is preparing myself and those around me for a truly “spiritual” Christmas. I know it is a busy time of year. Help me remain focused on what is essential -- you being born into our hearts.
Resolution: I will begin some form of daily reminder for myself and those I live with that we are in Advent so as to prepare our hearts for Christmas: Advent wreath, Advent calendar, Jesse Tree etc.
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