As we begin Advent, we light one candle in the midst of all the darkness in our lives and in the world. This candle symbolizes our longing, our desire, and our hope. We want to be renewed in our understanding that Jesus came to save us from our sin and death. We want to experience Jesus coming to us now, in our everyday lives, to help us live our lives with meaning and purpose. And we want to prepare for his coming to meet us at the end of our lives on this earth.
Today’s Gospel, on this first Sunday of Advent, emphasizes the need for watchfulness. The Son of Man will come without warning; only the Father knows the exact hour. The disciples must not be caught unprepared when this time comes. Today’s Gospel reminds us that Advent is about more than our preparation for the Church’s celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas. Advent is also about preparing ourselves for Christ’s return in glory at the end of time. Like the disciples and the faithful in Mark’s community, we must also stay alert and watchful. Our faithfulness to God, through the good times as well as the difficult times, shows us to be ready for the coming of the Son of Man.
So, we begin with our longing, our desire and our hope.
I can slow down. I can breathe more deeply. I can begin to trust that this will be a blessed time. Then, when I can let myself be who I am, and hear the Scriptures, I can begin to quietly pray, “Come, Lord, Jesus.
“Come into my life. I long for you and I believe you love me. Come and fill me with peace and the love only you can give. Come, Lord, Jesus, come into my heart, into my family, into my struggles. Come and heal me, and give me joy.”