â€œBeware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.â€
The Thanksgiving leftovers are (almost) gone. If we were well prepared, the shopping is done. If not, perhaps we completed it (or at least started it) at the end of this past week.
We live in a time of â€œgetting it done,â€ completing things, finishing. Perhaps getting things done relieves some of our worries. If we donâ€™t get things out of the way, how could we possible deal with the stresses we have in daily life – our jobs, grades, children and grandchildren, our Social Security and retirement savings, health…
It is easy to say â€“ Iâ€™m so glad thatâ€™s over. On to the nextâ€¦ Jesus asks for a different reaction in His faithful.
Jesus warns us against worry, against getting caught up in the day-to-day and worldly worries. Those are for a time only â€“ but life in Him is eternal. Jesus also asks His followers to: Be vigilant at all times and pray. That is a warning against the: Iâ€™m glad itâ€™s all over attitude. Advent helps us in readjusting and correcting our attitude.
If we are happy that Thanksgiving is finally over what does that say about the attitude of thankfulness that should be lived every moment of every day? If we are stressed about our shopping and cooking and traveling for Christmas â€“ getting the decorations up so we can get them down â€“ what does that say about our allowing Jesus to be born anew in us each day? If getting Easter done next is our goal, then do we see the power of Jesusâ€™ suffering, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension? If we stress over work and money, what does that say about where our treasure is located? If each moment is lived with the stress of getting things done, are we truly preparing for the tribulations that are imminent? If we cannot wait for the next thing to be over, checking stuff off our list, are we ready to stand before the Son of Man at the end of time?
Advent reminds us that we are to be in constant preparation and longing â€“ not for the next thing to be all over, but for Jesus to come again. We are to feed on Him in the sacramental life of the Church â€“ gifts he left us to strengthen us for a journey to the only completion that matters â€“ eternal life in Him. We are to: Be vigilant at all times and pray not just to get it done and over, but so that we may overcome every trial and test and obtain true victory.