It is an opportunity to reevaluate our journey in light of God’s presence or lack of presence; repent of any ways or actions that have caused us to stray from God; reform our self understanding as beloved children of God; renew our commitment to the covenant and redouble our efforts to live, love, learn and lead in complete freedom.
From a ‘practice of religion’ point of view, Christians can get very unimpressed with the repetition in the Church calendar. Here we go, Advent again… second verse same as the first! But really, attention is on Thanksgiving and the run up to the Christmas and New Years high that leads to a January joy that disappears into a February funk and the daily grind of the weeks until summer vacation.
However, there is an important difference between this year and every Advent that you have ever experienced. The difference is you! You are not the same person you were. Things happened this past year that have never happened before. You went to new places; experienced familiar places in new ways; recovered old friendships; maybe Christ came this past year for someone you love. Maybe God answered particular prayers; maybe you received the grace to overcome old temptations. You’re closer to God now, or maybe, you’ve grown even more cold and indifferent.
This advent is new and different because you are. We all are. That means we should be ready with anticipation to experience the journey of this Advent in a way that allows us to be open to God in new ways. Ways we might not have been ready for, until now, because of this past years journey. God is ready to make it happen, ready for us to be able to love God and our neighbor in new and deeper ways and to experience the freedom for which we are made, like never before.
Speaking of loving neighbors; All of us know people who have never heard any of this, not even one time. They’ve never had the blessed opportunity to make a choice between experiencing communion with God or to just come to church and check their emails or fall asleep.
This Advent, don’t forget to introduce or reintroduce others to the ‘reason for the season’s – greeting… Let's help someone - even just one person - arrive to Christmas this year not just distracted from their troubles, but filled with new meaning for their life.
Peace doesn't just happen; it's made.
CampusPadre is a college ministry Priest Chaplain with 30 years experience in youth and young adult ministry, who strives to let the Holy Spirit lead and challenges students to seek holiness above all.