Third Sunday of Advent
“Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord.” (James 5:7)
We enter the 2nd half of advent and James reminds us to be patient. As an adult, I think how this time of year I am usually frantic wanting more time to do – not hoping for Christmas to come faster! The words made me stop and think of how I have viewed the Advent season at different times of my life. As a child advent was always a special season – separate from Christmas – and yet leading to Christmas. I remember enjoying our advent wreath at church and at home. I recall counting down to Christmas with our family advent calendar. Looking forward to Christmas with anticipation…it seemed to take forever to arrive. During my college years advent became the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. A time filled with trips home to see family, preparing for exams and then returning home for rest and fun. As a young adult I began to enjoy the activities of the advent season: Church, caroling, gift giving and charitable giving. As a young mother I thought about the journey of Mary and Joseph and how their advent was awaiting the arrival of their first child. Now I find myself trying to allow advent to be more than just a rush of activities…both fun and hectic, secular and holy. Be patient seems odd advise.
Then I look at our readings. In the first week of advent we hear Matthew tell us to stay awake. Don’t become complacent for God is coming. In our second week we hear of John the Baptist calling us to repent. He advises us not to rely on our outward goodness but to seek the lord. This week John asks, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” (Matthew 11:2-11) Jesus’ answer is to look at the miracles he performs. It is in learning about Jesus that we come to know God. This learning and growing is our lifelong advent. We should always be awake, always repenting, always learning.
During this third week of advent Jesus calls me to seek his example. He invites me to spend the time I have asking and learning about him. He asks me to reach out to others and share the gifts he has given me. He invites me to love him more by loving all that he has made and created. He asks me to be patient. Jesus has not yet returned to complete his kingdom…but He will.