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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

This is the first week in Advent. Are you spending time every day contemplating the coming of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Or are you frantically buying gifts, making plans, caught up in the whirlwind of activity that surrounds what our culture now calls “the holiday season?” In our neighborhood, Christmas decorations were up on some houses days before Thanksgiving.

Is this what Advent is all about? What exactly are we supposed to be doing during these four weeks set aside by the Church prior to Christmas? We are to be preparing for Christmas. Our activities however, should not be centered on the busyness of the season. Rather, we should be preparing for the coming of the Lord.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth John 1:14a

Reflect on this passage for a moment. God became human flesh, born of a virgin and lived in a family. God became man and lived amongst His creation. How wonderful and awesome is that? Consider all the great things man has accomplished on this earth. All of it pales in comparison to what God has accomplished through a young, virgin Jewish girl and Christ’s physical birth here on earth. During the four weeks before Christmas we should be praying and contemplating the wonder and awe of God and all He has done for us through His Son.

…we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. John 1:14b

Advent is a time of waiting with anxious anticipation for the coming of the Christ Child. The Mass readings during Advent speak of Christ’s triumphant return, when He will rule over the earth for all eternity.

In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” Matthew 3:1-3

The kingdom of heaven is at hand! If Christ returned today, would you be ready? If you were to meet Christ face to face today, how would you react? Would you be filled with trepidation or wonder and awe? Nothing will compare to the moment you gaze into the eyes of your Creator as He stands in judgment over you. Are you ready for this moment? If not, Advent is the time to put your house in order, to make your paths straight. The King of Peace is coming!

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall feed; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11:6-9

These words from Isaiah foretell the peace that will exist between natural enemies upon Christ’s return to rule over all the earth in glory. We can experience this peace now by obeying the commands of God. If we desire to have peace in our relationships, especially our marriages and families, we must first walk in obedience with God. Are you honoring God in everything or are there areas of your life that you have yet to turn over to His lordship? It is in total abandonment to God that we will experience the peace of Christ first in our hearts and then in our homes.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27

Christmas can be a difficult time for those experiencing strife in their families. It is hard to focus on Christ when you are facing issues in your marriage and family. It can be a time fraught with pain, loneliness, anger, and longing for happier times. Make Advent special this year by focusing on the Lord’s coming, with joyful hope and eager anticipation like a small child excitedly awaits Christmas morn. He is your peace and joy. God will graciously provide you with everything you need. Keep your focus on the goal: eternal life with the Father in heaven. There is no greater gift.

For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10

We pray that the peace and blessings of God will be upon you and your family, both now and forevermore.