Every Wednesday during the Advent-Christmas season, we will post a reflection from Larry Livingston, CFCA church relations director. We hope these reflections help you on your own journey through Advent.
ìTherefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.î (Matthew 24:42)
The season of Advent begins this year with an apparently somber Gospel warning to remain alert in preparation for the coming of Christ (Matthew 24:37-44).
In tone it doesnít seem to differ much from readings we are accustomed to hearing at the end of a Church year ó readings that portend doom for those caught napping on the Day of Judgment.
But while alertness is a virtue, the alertness that God asks of us in this new Church year is not the terror of one afraid to blink for fear of a cosmic reprimand.
Rather, it is the heightened awareness of one wise enough to know that life is short and wondrous and that if you donít pay attention you could miss the good stuff.
It helps to think of Christís coming not just as a future event but as a joyful gift in the present. In truth, Christ comes to us often and in surprising ways through the people and happenings of life, but it takes alertness to see these moments of grace for what they are.
Laya Annamaynolu, CFCA-sponsored child in Hyderabad, India, and her family.
Do we recognize the blessings that come our way or are we so wrapped up in our hurts and anxieties that we let them pass unnoticed? Do we embrace the Christ who dwells in other people, or do we focus only on their weaknesses and failings?
The attitude with which we approach each day and each person ñ as either a gift to cherish or obstacle to overcome ñ is also the lens through which we view God.
Is it any wonder, then, that so many people see God only as a stern judge? God does hold us accountable, but to focus only on accountability is to miss the point.
More than anything, God wants each of us to be happy. Our faith teaches that true happiness is the natural consequence of living in loving relationship with God and other people.
If we take care of our relationships, the rest will take care of itself. That is one of the underlying principles of CFCAís Hope for a Family sponsorship program.
We believe in building relationships across divides of poverty, culture, language, race and all the other conditions that separate human beings from one another.
When we have the grace to reach across those divides, the face of Christ becomes visible to us in the faces of other people.
This Advent, may we be awake to the opportunities that God places before us ñ opportunities to discover his Son in wondrous and surprising ways every day.
- Read the second Advent reflection: Dare to dream of a better world
- Read the third Advent reflection: Invest in the gift of joyful anticipation
- Read the fourth Advent reflection: Embrace the humanity that led to our salvation
- Read the fifth Advent reflection:†Share the good news of holy families
- Read the sixth Advent reflection: Modern pilgrims find a star worth following