As we come to the coldest, darkest time of the year, the season of Advent begins; the season of waiting. In this season, we wait for the Son of God to come into the world. With the birth of Jesus, God’s plan of salvation will begin to unfold, bringing a new hope for all nations. A light will shine out in the darkness.
How should we spend the season of waiting? Jesus tells his disciples: ‘Be on your guard! Stay awake!’ As disciples of Jesus, we should be alert and watching out for his coming. The time of waiting is a time of preparation.
We prepare ourselves to welcome the Saviour by prayer and by repentance; looking honestly at ourselves and at our lives, to see where we need to change our ways and turn back to God. The prophet Isaiah, in today’s First Reading, speaks on behalf of the people of Israel. They have forgotten their faith and wandered away from God, and the prophet begs the Lord to turn back to his chosen people and restore their integrity. St Paul gives practical advice to the Christians in Corinth; God will keep them ‘steady and without blame.’ By living a good life, doing the simple things well, they will bear witness to Christ.
The time of waiting should not be time wasted. With God’s grace, the season of Advent can be a fruitful time, when we pray, reflect and repent. Then we will be awake and ready to welcome the Lord when he comes.