Embracing Advent Vibes: Illuminating our hearts with Hope, Joy and Love
As December unfolds, our spirits dance with joy, transcending the challenges of a world still battling the shadows of the Covid-19 virus. The magic of Christmas decorations sparks a feel-good symphony, weaving nostalgia and pure joy, connecting us with the innocence of childhood.
Advent, a universal celebration, transcends religious boundaries, captivating hearts worldwide. For Christians, it’s a profound journey leading to the birth of Jesus. Yet, amidst the festive allure, do we ready our hearts for His presence? The Liturgical Year beckons us to acknowledge Advent before Christmas—an essential pause for preparation, reflection, and celebration, extending beyond three weeks.
The Gospel readings echo the call to “stay awake,” urging us to pray, repent, forgive, and be prepared. Advent’s essence extends beyond the joyous birth of Jesus; it signals readiness for His Second Coming, urging us to remain vigilant, irrespective of the unknown timeline.
As we navigate life’s uncertainties, Advent serves as a poignant reminder to stay alert, a spiritual wake-up call to journey towards Jesus and His Kingdom. Amidst the challenges, we strive to embody goodness in thought, word, and deed. Advent, a pivotal guide, aids our spiritual journey, encouraging us to rise from our stumbles and align with God’s expectations.
Preparation for Jesus mirrors our anticipation for guests, emphasizing the importance of making way for His divine presence. Filipinos, known for hospitality, echo this sentiment in their meticulous preparations. In the same vein, we extend our efforts to serve and follow God.
Advent’s grace extends an opportunity to start anew—a chance to seek forgiveness, embrace a clean slate, and be better followers of Christ. The Advent wreath’s candle symbolizes God’s promise: unconditional love, unending hope, and eternal life. Accepting this gift requires placing faith, love, and trust in Him.
Of the six liturgical seasons of the year, Advent and Lent have similarities but distinct particularly in its meaning and purpose. Both seasons encourage believers to engage in spiritual disciplines such as prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. However, Advent is primarily a season of joyful expectation leading to the celebration of Christ’s birth, while Lent is a season of reflection and repentance preparing for the observance of Christ’s death and resurrection.
During this Advent, Pope Francis emphasized the following:
- The importance of vigilance. To be spiritually alert and be prepared for the arrival of Jesus. However, the Pope clarifies that this vigilance is not about living in fear. Instead, it is about waiting with loving anticipation. It’s an attitude of hope and excitement for the coming of Jesus.
- To share what we have with those in need. This goes beyond material assistance; it involves giving listening, time, and concrete help. This aligns with the spirit of generosity, compassion, and empathy, fostering a sense of community and solidarity. Just like in his previous Advent messages, the Holy Father is reminding us to find God in the neediest, sick, hungry, and imprisoned—a path that draws us closer to Him.
- To clear our mind of “useless things”. This suggests a call to focus on the spiritual significance of the period rather than getting caught up in the materialistic aspects that often accompany the holiday season. He also encourages believers, including the youth, to cultivate an eager expectation for the arrival of Jesus. This involves keeping hearts alert, being awake and ready, and expressing impatience to meet Him.
- Avoding Complaints. This could be seen as a call to maintain a positive and grateful attitude, appreciating the blessings and opportunities for growth during the Advent season.
In essence, during this Advent season we are all being urged, particularly the youth, to approach and embrace the season with a sense of joyful anticipation and watchfulness. This involves acts of generosity, mindfulness of the needs of others, and a conscious effort to avoid distractions that may dilute the spiritual significance of the season. The overarching message is to keep hearts awake, ready, and eager for the arrival of Jesus, fostering a sense of hope, joy and love with our brothers and sisters in our homes. workplaces and in the community we live.
May this Advent season fill our hearts with grace, joy, and meaning. May the Almighty God grant us the joy of His salvation. Amen.
ctto: Thank you for the featured photo.