Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Preparation and Unfolding: Advent 2013, Day One

"God himself assumes the form of the creature, and he puts whatever else he has to say to man into the preparation and the consequent unfolding of his incarnation.... The Church's contemplation goes on. The contemplation of the individual member participates in it, nourishes and invigorates it." (Hans Urs von Balthasar, Prayer, pp. 243, 276)
In the malls and halls of secular society, retailers and revelers have been promoting the so-called Christmas season since before Thanksgiving; among Christians, however, the celebration of Christmas--the Church's formal remembrance of the emergence of Jesus Christ from His Mother's womb--shouldn't really begin until December 25th. Until then, Christians ought to be focusing on the season called Advent, from the Latin verb advenire, "to come."

Most non-Christians know that the season that precedes the remembrance of the death and resurrection of Jesus is a time of preparation, of meditation on the events leading up to Good Friday and Easter, of self-examination and course correction. Most people, including many Christians, don't realize that Advent is meant to serve the same purpose as Lent, and like any family preparing for the changes and responsibilities that accompany the birth of a child, the Church and its individual members should prepare each year for the coming of Jesus, as though it was the first time.

What do you need to do to be ready?


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