Advent 2019: God’s Unchanged Christmas Desire

There are few things in life that we really like to prepare for… Unless something is very, very important, most of us would generally like to just show up, like some of us did way back in high school as students.  In ‘showing up’ we are hoping that our very presence is enough to merit our getting or receiving whatever is suppose to be given – like a grade in that class, etc.

This is possible for the little or small things in life, sometimes…

… But other things in life are so important, that they simply require a period of preparation: like an engagement before a wedding and a pregnancy before a birth are examples. For these ‘big things’ in life, we know that we must prepare – our bodies, hearts and minds for what is coming!

In these ‘big things’ of life, if we fail to prepare, we prepare to fail.  Often, a lack of preparation can or may even result in us losing something that we rightfully even expected, hoped for or anticipated – like a big tax return!! The hoped for big spring tax check unfortunately may fail to be realized due to poor record keeping and preparation.

If this is true for the ‘big things’ in our natural lives, is this not even more true for the most fundamental reality that undergirds all others: our spiritual life?

Consider the following common example…

For many Catholics, going to Mass on Sunday is an important part of their spiritual life, yet many also say they find it is often routine.  When I hear people talk about how routine (boring) the Mass can be, I ask what are they doing to prepare to receive God at Mass? Do they prepared for it, by simply reading or listening to the Scriptures at the Mass they will be attending before hand – they are online, even on the way to Mass?  This SIMPLE ACT of preparation made into a habit can and will deepen and transform one’s routine experience and communion at Mass.

This simple truth also applies to the reality of Christmas in our lives.  What was God’s desire that first Christmas? Did Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and Wise Men all PREPARE for it? Even Herod, in finding out late from the Wise Men, tried to prepare for it – in an evil way – by murdering thousands of innocent children under two, which caused the Holy family to flee to Egypt…

If we are to really live out the real meaning of Christmas each year – starting with this year – we must prepare to receive God in some new way this year.  This was what the first Christmas was all about!!!  God’s desire to Give God’s Self to us anew!!!  God’s desire for each of us has remained unchanged since that first Christmas Day…

Once again, since we generally prepare only when forced or for the most important things of our lives, what could be more important than receiving God in some new way this Christmas season?!?!

As Christians, we may find ourselves running around seeking to gift others this Christmas – don’t get me wrong, this to, is what the season is ALSO VERY MUCH about…  But we must also remember God’s original desire for us in celebrating Christmas and we must prepare for it…

…TO RECEIVE God anew …like in a graced reconciliation in that close relationship or a change in our financial status/a new job or like a jump starting or deepening our prayer life and/or worship experience, etc.

God has got THAT gift with our name on it…

It is a gift that only God can give us…

All we must do is to prayerfully and humbly ask for it – yes, to name it…

And also to faithfully prepare in anticipation of receiving it soon.

Have a Blessed Advent Season!!!  Step out on faith and hope to receive that Gift that only God can give you, for that is part of what CHRISTMAS is all about!!!

Author: P. J. West, Jr.

Paul J. West Jr. is a cradle Catholic and native Chicagoan who has ministered in Catholic Schools, parishes and hospitals for over two decades. His current ministries are focused on both hospital chaplaincy and writing. Prior to this, he ministered as an educator for almost twenty five years teaching religion, scripture, philosophy and ethics at four Chicago area high schools and adults at the Chicago Catholic Scripture School. His parish ministry has included preaching, teaching, writing and serving as a Eucharistic minister. Mr. West, who is native south sider, has been married for almost 30 years to Dr. Joy West. They have raised four beautiful daughters who are all hardcore Bears and White Sox fans!!!!

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