John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: “A voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’” (Gospel for Dec. 8, Mt 3:1-3)
We are all familiar with the sense of panic that sets in when guests are due to arrive at our home. With people coming any minute, we rush to finish the cleaning and make the final preparations. My brother Knights, in this Gospel passage we find John the Baptist racing through the house, calling on everyone to prepare for the guest of a lifetime: Jesus Christ. This is our common task every day of Advent: to inspect every corner of our spiritual house and clean out the clutter, for Christ’s arrival is at hand. Let us pray for the grace to repent and prepare our souls for the coming of our Lord.
This month, I challenge you to fast or abstain from meat one day a week to prepare for Christ’s coming. Second, I challenge you to help prepare for Christ’s coming through the Faith in Action Keep Christ in Christmas program or by simply wishing others a “Merry Christmas.”
How does treating Advent as a time of repentance and preparation change how we understand and celebrate Christmas? What is one practical way you are shifting the focus from materialism to the light of Christ and the spirit of giving this season? How can I remind others of the joy of Christmas during this time of year?