The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home - December 2, 2018
First Sunday of Advent - Luke 21:25-36
The first Sunday of Advent gives us a fig tree to think about. I don’t know much about fig trees, but I do know apple trees. We have one in our back yard and each spring, when the leaves first spout (something in common with fig trees), I look for apple blossoms. Why? Because that will give me hope for the eventual harvest. This year I had one blossom. And true to form, in the fall, I harvested one apple. My hope for a larger crop would have been fruitless.
Each year during Advent, the Church reminds us of three ways to think about and relate to the coming of Christ. First, his historical coming at the first Christmas. If people think about the real meaning of Christmas, it will usually be about his first coming. We set up manger scenes in our churches and homes with the newborn Jesus, his mother, Mary and his foster father, Joseph. In the gospels we are made aware of other persons who witnessed his first coming, namely the shepherds on the hill and the wise men from the east.
We can also think about his second coming, which, as the New Testament describes it, will be on the last day, the so-called “end of the world.” Jesus will come “on the clouds” as our victorious messiah and king to establish forever God’s reign over all.
But I mentioned that there’s a third way to think about the coming of Christ and in practical terms it is very important. During each season of Advent, we are reminded to be alert for its coming, to expect it, to look for it every day, to be watchful and expectant. In this third “coming” of God to us, that coming is personal and we are reminded that it could happen at any time. Like today. Or next week. Or any place. Like while we are present at Mass. Or while driving to church. Or at home when you are alone. Or with others. Or at work, or really, anywhere! That’s why during Advent, we do well to do two things.
One, be expectant. Like I was when viewing that one apple blossom. And two, be alert. Both attitudes are very important.
If you think that God can come to you and you open yourself to God’s coming, God will come. And during each Advent, we are reminded to be ready. Not for Christ’s coming two-thousand years ago. Not for that final coming (it could be thousands of years from now.) But mostly for Christ coming to you today or tomorrow or later this week. Any time and any place. God will find you.
©David M. Thomas, PhD