Reading: Mark 13: 32-37
Verse 33: “Be on guard! Stay alert!”
Advent means “coming”. As Christians, we celebrate the coming of Jesus during this season. Advent invites us to slow down, to be present to God and to one another. Advent calls us to lessen the pace of our lives and to prepare ourselves to welcome the baby Jesus into our hearts and into the world. When we can do these things, our Advent season is calm, peaceful, and joyous.
But Advent is not without its distractions. Culture seems to shift into a higher gear during this time of the year. Our schedules get busier with programs at church and at school, with an office party or two, with trips to both sets of family, and, of course, with time to shop. Our bank account seems to get stretched a bit thin with travel expenses and the need to get just the right gifts to please our family and friends. On top of this our mind is filled with Christmas advertisements and jingles as our body is tempted to overindulge with holiday treats and more. With all of this going on and engaging us, it is no wonder we can have difficulty focusing on the birth of Christ and what this means to our lives and to our world.
So when Jesus says, “Be on guard! Stay alert!”, He is offering us good advice. To not fall into the Christmas rush, we must remain on guard. We must be aware of how the secular can draw us quickly away from the sacred. We must stay alert to the movement and presence of God during this holy season. In our passage, Jesus also tells the one at the door to keep watch. We are the filter and the decision-maker for our hearts. We choose what we allow in and what we allow to come out of our hearts. May we open wide the door of our hearts for the presence of God to dwell in our hearts this Advent season while we share the love of Christ, allowing Him to burst forth from our hearts into all the world. May it be so!