Advent is a time of joyful expectation, a time when we look forward to celebrating the anniversary of Christ’s first coming, his birth in Bethlehem.  It is also a time however, to think about preparing for Christ’s second coming – his coming at the end of time, or the end of our lives, whichever comes first.  As Christians, we believe that God has indeed come to the earth, but more than that, we believe that he has come to show us the way through this life to the next.  Advent reminds us that we need to be vigilant and prepared for the coming of the Lord.   Christ has come, and Christ will come again.  Let’s be ready!

Our Christian faith encourages us therefore, to spend some time reflecting on the deeper meaning of these two “comings”. This can be done in many ways.  A few examples might include placing an Advent wreath on the dining room table and joining hands for a few moments each night to pray and reflect as a family.  It might mean taking time –even if it’s only 5 minutes in the parking lot at work – to  read the gospel passage of the day. (It’s amazing how God can speak to us through the daily Scriptures.)  It might mean coming to a weekday evening Advent liturgy or spending a little time in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in our beautiful Chapel, or viewing one of the many faith enriching possibilities on stedwardschurch.formed.org. Whatever you choose, the meaning of the season encourages us to carve out a little space each day to reflect, check “priorities” and become a little more open to God’s grace and direction in our lives. During these “pandemic days” that might be more important than ever!

During Advent, we are also encouraged to help bring the season’s promise and hope to others through our acts of charity. We might consider taking advantage of a few of the many opportunities this season offers to give a little extra time or treasure to help those less fortunate. Some ideas might include donating to our parish giving tree (located in our Chapel) or to the local food shelf, or perhaps sitting down as a family and talking about giving up one thing this year at Christmas in order to help another family or individual.  According to Jesus, giving to others – especially the “least among us” – is the surest way to “store up treasure in heaven” and be truly prepared to meet the Lord.

So during the days of Advent, despite Covid 19, let us try as much as possible to embrace the deeper meaning of this holy season. Let’s try to take advantage of the special opportunities to reflect, pray and serve the needs of others.

May God bless us as we celebrate this holy season and prepare once again for the coming of Christ.

Fr. Rick