In the shops, it’s already Christmas. The tinsel is up and the carols are playing. In the world of commerce, the ‘Festive Season’ begins as soon as Halloween is over. However, before celebrating the birth of the Lord, the Church keeps the season of Advent as a time of prayerful waiting and preparation. We are invited to pause amid the Christmas shopping and reflect on the mystery of the coming of the Son of God into the world. Jesus tells his disciples that his Second Coming in glory will be unexpected. But at the time of Christ’s birth, no one was expecting that God would enter the world that he created as a tiny child, born in a stable to a poor family. This is the great, joyful surprise of our faith. The presence of God among us is not what we expect, nor where we expect – that’s how we miss it. God is present to us in those who are poor and marginalised; the homeless, the addicted, the lonely. As we begin the season of Advent, we are called to stay awake and stand ready, so that we don’t miss the amazing gift of God’s presence.