That’s a big word in a season like December where everyone is preparing with shopping on the city streets, internet, and bargain deals irresistible to say no. But if we were to understand Sunday’s readings in this light, we may miss the point.
On the Second Sunday of Advent, Isaiah speaks of the coming of the Messiah on being more than a sentimental hallmark card of Seasons Greetings. When the Messiah comes “Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; the rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley” (Isaiah 40.4). Therefore, all of creation is preparing for the coming of its Savior! The prophet urges us to prepare to welcome the Mighty One whose arm is strong and whose arms hold his sheep near his heart (Isaiah 40.10-11)! He will bring forth kindness and truth, justice and peace and will spring from the heavens (Psalm 85.12). Prepare for his coming! But wait it doesn’t stop there.
In Paul’s pastoral letter, he wants us to “be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace” (2 Peter 3.14). At an unexpected moment, the Savior will be in our midst (2 Peter 3.10).
So what’s the point? Amidst the craziness of December, God’s secret action is working in our lives and we have to allow ourselves to listen to the Spirit’s promptings. In one sense, buying Christmas gifts are very important. But if our lives are not receptive and prepared to receive the One whose name this holiday is coined after, we would miss the mark and cheat ourselves of the true gift revealed in this Season of the Incarnation – of God’s Word breaking into our humanity!
We have to interiorly prepare even if that means saying NO to a few pre-Christmas parties, so we can say YES to forming lives receptive to Mary and Joseph who bring the Savior of the world, knocking at the door of our hearts, hoping to find lodging. Knock, knock: celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Knock, knock: spend a few minutes each day praying the scriptures. Knock, knock: serve Christ in the poor. Dare we not here the coming! Happy Advent.