The first reading today reminds us of the promised Saviour. In advent we prepare for the momentous birth of the Christ. And in doing so we prepare also for his second coming. In the meantime the gospel tells us to stay spiritually awake. Lets confess any ways we become careless about our religious duties..
What’s the most beautiful thing on earth, surely the first cry of a new born child. Each baby means freshness, innocence, hope for the future, new love for jaded hearts and a spiritually stale world. That’s why the church, after ending its year with remembrance of the dead, begins its new year with a period of preparation for the greatest birth of all. For if each birth is a wonder, that of God’s son is even more so. And for us that birth occurs each year in the miracle of the church’s liturgical cycle.
Each advent the church asks us to prepare for the Christ child by being reborn ourselves in the Spirit. The candle we light in the wreath asks us to cast off any night of evil in our hearts and shine for Christ once more. For that’s what advent means, rebirth in faith, peace and love for us ,the church, and the world. For if each child is a gift to its parents, the Christ Child is God’s great gift to the whole of humanity, restoring original innocence, our relations with God, and the goodness and integrity of creation. But each of us must kindle and keep ablaze his light within our souls for this to happen
In our Gospel Christ describes this as staying awake in the Spirit. So that we’ll be ready and his work complete when He comes at last in glory to judge the living and the dead. In the meantime, we must remain watchful lest our hearts become coarsened by the corruption in the world around us. We need to retune our souls every so often so that there will be no false notes there when the lord comes. We need to constantly break the grip of the world and its values that would squeeze God’s life out of our souls. We must wake every so often from the sleep of sin and death that the devil lulls us into. For the Lord could came at any time to require our soul of us. But rather than fear we should do so out of love, and gratitude for God’s dazzling gift to us in baby Jesus. This dark time of the year and winter evokes the dark of the Anti-Christ that’ll pre-date Christ’s coming. So that we wont succumb to his wiles Baby Jesus comes each Christmas to turn our darkest night into brightest day.
For were all potential anti-Christ’s; our hearts can turn from God’s light and even work actively against for the more worldly values of which Satan is lord. In school once a child put it very well. I said we need regular Sunday communion for without this food our faith can grow weak and leave us wide open to contrary forces. “Yes”, said the child, “we can fall down”. He’s right, without constant reinforcement of God’s grace in us the devil can drag into the mire until we risk being lost altogether. That’s why times such as advent, of renewal, prayer and confession are so essential, to pick us up off the floor where the prince of lies would keep us. Christ’s innocent baby cry lifts us from that pit. Each advent makes his deliverance more real in us, so we can shine for him at Christmas, his Spirit reborn in us. The carol puts this well: “cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today”. Advent is about Christ’s rebirth in us, renewal of our faith so that he’ll find a grand welcome when he comes to our inn at Christmas; a warm bed in our heart’s manger, a family of renewed warmth love and peace at home; a church buoyed by our attendance; a world renewed by our prayer, charity and witness. For worldly values fade to dust at last leaving us empty before eternity, but Christ’s lord of life, love, goodness, peace and happiness both for this world and forever and ever, amen. So as God’s people renewing our inner light this advent to prepare for Christ coming now and at the world’s end, we profess our faith.
Prayers of the faithful
For the leaders of the church that this advent and Christmas, may they bring God’s light in Christ to the world as never before..
For civil leaders that the Christmas gift may soften their hearts and make them reach out to all the needy children in their care..
For our youth that like the Christ child they may be light to our world by their faithfulness to Christ and all that good and true..
For our homes and parents that they may love, bless, and give to their children with all their hearts this advent and Christmas, so that this may be a time of good will and peace on earth..
For the sick and all those suffering in mind, body, or soul, that this advent, through our love, care, and prayers they may experience the peace, comfort and healing of the Christ child..
For the dead to whom Christ opened the gates of heaven by his coming that helped by our prayers they may enjoy the fruits of Christ death and resurrection in heavenly bliss..
We ask all these prayers to Christ, the child born for us and given to us at Christmas as the eternal light of the world, amen.
“all across the land dawns a brand new morn, this comes to pass when a child is born”. The Christ child has no particular colour or social class. He is black, white, yellow or whatever. All are his children and equally cherished. May it be the same with us. May we treat all God’s children with equal dignity, love and care. We ask Mary, who bore the Christ child for all humanity, that she will give us the open heart of Christ towards all this advent, Christmas and throughout the new year..Hail Mary