By Margaret Adams ’19
Good morning, Dominican. Today, I want to talk about how to be prepared for the coming of Jesus. Advent is a time of preparation in our waiting, and preparing in our hearts the way for the Lord, because He is coming, and we will never be sure of when.
I am going to be completely honest: this scares me. It scares me because Jesus could come at any moment, and I have to be completely prepared. Imagine the coming of the Messiah at a time when you least expect it. What would you do – kneel, ask for mercy? Would you really be prepared? Could you have prepared more? I am sure the thought of the second coming strikes a nervous cord in some of you as well.
For me, Advent never felt like a serious or penitential time, although it truly is. Advent has always been my favorite season because of the joy; joy from the sudden cool weather, to finally getting to wear sweaters and drink hot chocolate and look at pretty Christmas lights and watch my favorite movie, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Throughout my life, I have always been told that Advent is the time for preparing and waiting. We prepare for the coming of the Lord by self-reflection and going to confession. I went through the motions. I went to confession with my classes, I lit the Advent candles on the Advent wreath, but I never fully understood why we spent that time to self-reflect during Advent. Going through the motions is passive waiting. It is the kind of waiting where you sit back and wait for something to happen to you. When we sit back, go through the motions, and wait for the Lord passively, we are not truly preparing.
“A Charlie Brown Christmas” is my favorite Christmas movie. It was not until I was older that I realized Charles Schultz, the creator of Peanuts, had already shown me how to prepare for the coming of the Lord. In the movie, Linus explains to Charlie the true meaning of Christmas by reciting the scripture reading from the Gospel according to Luke. Linus tells Charlie,
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:8-14)
“That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown,” said Linus. As Linus is saying this, you can see him let go of his blanket; the blanket Linus always carries around as a comfort for him in everyday life. This is the only time in the Peanuts series that Linus lets go of his blanket. Like Linus, we need to let go of the things that we hold on to that keep us from welcoming God into our lives.
Recently, I have been going through a lull in my relationship with God. I have been so busy with everyday tasks that I would often find it difficult to sit down and talk to Him. By not welcoming God into my life, it felt that I had to fend for myself in the face of all the obstacles thrown at me. It was not until everything got to its worst and I had reached my highest stress level that I understood that this is when I needed Him most. In order to overcome this distance that I was experiencing with God, I had to let go of my fears, anxieties, and worries, in the same way the Linus let go of his blanket. It is still a challenge every day for me to do this, but the joy I experience when I do welcome Him is unique because it is unlike any other joy you can experience.
Nobody can go through life by walking alone. You need to welcome God into your life and let Him guide you. This is why we spend our time during Advent self-reflecting. We need to examine ourselves and discover what is truly stopping us from welcoming God into our lives. What is it that hinders you from giving it all to God? What is the part of your life you try to keep from God?
Once we let Him into our lives, once we let go of all our fears, once we become truly active in waiting for Him, then we will see Him work in our lives. Instead of sitting back and allowing your relationship with God to waver, become active and reach out to Him, because He is reaching out to you. This Advent season, we need to recognize that actively waiting for God is how we prepare for the second coming of Christ. By welcoming Jesus into our lives every day, we prepare for when we welcome Him to the world. So please, take some time for self-evaluation this season. Look in the mirror; recognize that you are not only God’s masterpiece, but also a work in progress. Then look up at God and ask Him, “Where do we go from here?” I want to close with a quote by Morgan Harper Nichols. It illustrates how actively waiting for God brings us true joy. “Cling to joy, audacious and unbridled joy that looks for light in everything, even in your waiting.”