It’s the first Sunday in Advent. But no one really celebrates it anymore. The season has been swallowed by commercial Christmas. We come to church and note the purple vestments and sing Advent hymns. But we forget about it as soon as we step outside the church.
TV is showing Christmas movies; the stores are lit up with Christmas lights; Christmas parties will soon be here. We are lured into secular festivities without any spiritual preparation for the greatest event in human history: the birth of God on earth.
We can look back to the time before online shopping and artificial lights. Back then, the only light was a star. And we have Mary, a young woman scared by a vision and a voice. But the angelic messenger tells her, “Do not be afraid.” She was called to be the Mother of the Messiah.
How could all this happen? The day finally came when she got to look at the face of the Messiah. She teaches us to remain faithful in spite of doubt; in spite of loss.
We have Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin, who could not bear a child. But, she joins Mary in celebrating God’s breaking into their lives. We have Joseph, who obeys when he does not understand. We have Anna, the woman in the Temple who has lost her husband, and some of her children. She lives in doubt, but the day comes when she meets the Savior face to face.
We must focus on people like Mary, Elizabeth, Joseph and Anna during Advent. I suggest that you take them home with you. Amid all the entertaining celebrations, try to walk with them. And ask yourself, “What am I doing right now to help build the Kingdom of God here on earth? What will I begin to do right now, on this first Sunday in Advent?”