Awake–First Sunday of Advent, an ordinary glimpse!

advent-1So we begin the season of Advent, a season of hopeful expectation and waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, both in the here and now and in the Kingdom still to come.  In this season, we celebrate the three “comings” of Christ. Some writers focus only on two comings of Christ, however, I generally add a third.  One, in his original coming as a Child in Bethlehem. The second, in our awareness of His presence in our daily lives and the third, His final return to redeem humanity.

The readings from this weekend’s Eucharistic Liturgy point to being awake and watchful for his final return, yet, this awakened state is just as necessary to see hints of the Kingdom in the here and now.  The Gospel of Luke point to being made aware of the signs that point to His final return.

In these past few days since the birth of my first born son, staying awake and awareness have been a constant conversation with those I work and live with each day.  With the feeding schedule and his sleep-wake cycles, it really throws a challenge into each day’s wakefulness.  To be awake has several meanings, the first is to cease from sleeping.  In these days, that is the easiest.  However, another meaning of awake is what the Gospel writers are referring to, that is, to become conscious or aware of something.  Yet, these two definitions of awake are intimately joined, for our awareness is sometimes effected–for good and for bad– by the amount or lack of sleep.  Yet, because of my lack of sleep, there is a new heightened awareness.  In the moments of both my lack of sleep and heightened awareness, you begin to notice things differently and priorities of your life begin to change, right before your very eyes.

In the daily liturgy of the domestic church, the new awareness is in the 2am feeding and diaper change, the visit of family and friends who assist with a major life change, the daily faithfulness to support each other and to continue to be people of integrity faithful to the struggle to not only look for an experience of God in those great in-breaking moments, but also to see everyday life as the invitation to see the world anew a filled with, as Gerard Manley Hopkins says, “the grandeur of God.”

Advent becomes a great time to light a candle and shed some light on another reality in our daily lives, so that we might be light St. Paul says to the people at Thessalonica in today’s second reading. 

Brothers and sisters:
May the Lord make you increase and abound in love
for one another and for all,
just as we have for you,
so as to strengthen your hearts,
to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.

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