Happy Advent to all! from Catholic Majority! Welcome to our preparation time before Christmas.
Watch, therefore; you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,whether in the evening, or at midnight,or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’” – Matthew 13:36-37
Today is the first Sunday of Advent. In this first week’s Gospel, Jesus asks us to watch and stay awake. I know Jesus was divine, and historical evidence of his divine sleep-cycle are lacking, but I know how I feel if I don’t get eight hours of sleep at night. As a teacher, I pity any student who has to deal with me the next day. If Christ is asking us to stay awake and throw off our circadian rhythm because He wants to throw a second coming, I feel like he would be more reasonable and come at a time when we were well rested, and perhaps had time for at least one cup of coffee. Maybe 9am or so, give or take.
Every Sunday, I go over to my goddaughter’s house and spend some time with her discussing scripture, Christ, and doing my best to be there for her as a source for her questions. Before diving into gospel apologetics, she said of this passage, “So it’s like just be watchful for opportunities to be like Christ and do what He would do?” After some silence of hearing an eleven year aged shot of wisdom, I had to agree with her.
Christ’s second coming, of which we hear during Advent, can help us prepare us spiritually for the full joy of Christmas. What does that look like practically? We know many meditation practices eloquently speak of mindfulness and being present to the moment. If we took a few mindfulness breaks during our day (call them God breaks if you will), just to be present and aware, I feel we’d be better prepared to ‘watch’ as Jesus asked without having to rely on espresso shot and Redbull.
What do we do when we watch? We simply live, but ever aware of what we do and what we say, and of the encounters we experience. Recently a friend of mine told me of a story of her going out to eat. She and the waitress struck up a conversation where it came to be known that the waitress takes a cab to work daily because she could not afford a car, does not have insurance, and is raising a baby girl. She then boldly stated, “God will provide though. I don’t know how, but He will.” Such a story would puncture any heart, and the blood from my friend’s bleeding heart tipped her the amount she needed for a new car. I can’t help but think a hue of Christ’s coming shone that day.
So yes, Kate, watch out for opportunities to be Christ-like. Don’t fall asleep on a bed of self-centeredness, but stay awake, alert, and mindful, and I’m sure you’ll find opportunities where you can leave a tip for someone who maybe just needs your beautiful smile.