First Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b, 64:2-7
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Yogi Berra was once asked, "What time is it?" Yogi responded, "You mean now?"
The time right now is Advent. We begin four weeks of preparing for and longing for Christmas.
We can begin this time by becoming once again a little child – filed with wonder at God’s creation, filled with awe at God’s power, and trusting in God’s love. This is the time to give ourselves over to being playful, and cheerful and song-filled.
Advent is also a good time to once again become a teenager, to dream big dreams, to hope big hopes, to see all the possibilities that lie before us and our world, if only we let God come more fully into our lives.
Advent is a time to capture the energy and enthusiasm of early middle age, a time to stretch ourselves to do meaningful deeds, to reach out to the needs of the poor, to work for justice, to commit ourselves to life, and making life better for others.
Advent is a time to catch the spirit of later middle age, a time to realize the limitation of material possessions, to be finally free of concern about what others think or say, and to spend more time enjoying the family and friends whom God has gifted us with.
And Advent is a time to welcome the gift of wisdom that usually comes from living a long life. True wisdom teaches us that the best use of time is to spend it on those things that outlast it. Included in that list the time spent in prayer.
Yes, Advent can be a beautiful experience of the many ages that can exist within us at any given moment, if we let them. Advent can be a time of growth into the fullness of human life. As Isaiah reminds us in our first reading, we are the clay and God is the potter. All we have to do is say "Yes" to his will.
Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P. ministers as a preacher and writer. He lives in the Passionist community at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.