Advent: Prepare, Plan, Dream
Today, we begin the four weeks of Advent. Four weeks of preparation. Four weeks of hopeful anticipation of the birth of Christ. It would be so easy to breeze right through these four weeks and keep our focus solely on Christmas. Yet, Advent has something special to offer us.
What are the things that you wait for with hopeful anticipation? Maybe the birth of a child or grandchild? A college acceptance letter? A job offer? The return of your college student or adult children for the holidays? I think most of us are waiting in hopeful anticipation of the end of the pandemic. While we’re waiting is the perfect time to enter into the spirit of Advent.
Think of things you do while you wait in any of those situations mentioned above. You prepare. You plan. You dream. What do we do during Advent? We plan. We prepare. We dream.
Just as we prepare our homes for our loved ones coming for Christmas, we must prepare our souls for the birth of Christ!
We prepare a place in our hearts and minds for Christ. We release those things that we’ve been holding on to that prevent us from loving God, from loving others, from loving ourselves. Just as we prepare our homes for our loved ones coming for Christmas, we must prepare our souls for the birth of Christ!
We plan our lives around this preparation. We create lists (and some folks check them twice, looking at you Santa). We make sure nothing is overlooked so the meals, the family gatherings, the baking, all go smoothly. The same should be true for our spiritual lives too. We plan out our prayer time. We make our lists: who to pray for, what to pray for. When we plan even in our spiritual lives, we can be sure to have room for the special person who is coming.
What is greater than God incarnate?!
We dream of family gatherings. We yearn for our loved ones we haven’t seen in a while. This time of Advent is a time for dreaming. We dream of the Savior. We dream of Emmanuel – God with us. These dreams stem from that hopeful anticipation. Pope Francis said Do not be afraid to dream great things! What is greater than God incarnate?!
If we enter into Advent- the preparing, the planning, the dreaming- with the same fervor that we enter into our nonspiritual Christmas preparations, how much more special will Christmas day be when we celebrate the Savior!?
So over the four weeks of Advent, I encourage you to prepare, plan, and dream as you await in hopeful anticipation the birth of Jesus.