Day 11 of Advent
Wednesday in the 2nd week of Advent
2 Thess. 1:1-12
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"A season of expectation and preparation"
Is Advent a season of penitence or is it a season of expectation? Is Advent a season of inner reflection, or a time of outer preparation? Is Advent a season in which we should reflect upon the life and witness of John the Baptist, or of Mary the mother of Jesus? Well, as one might expect, there is a multitude of answers to these questions and the answer seems to be "Yes!" The season is one in which we do examine our lives, and perhaps also those things that we have "done and left undone," but it is also a season of preparation, the tangible preparation for the holiday season, but also the deeper and richer preparation for the reality of God (ever) becoming incarnate in our lives and the preparation for Christ's return.
With Mary, we might live into the sense of the season as one of expectation, as she awaits the birth of Jesus, so too, we might live in the sense that Jesus will be born anew for us this season, bringing joy, peace, and blessing to the entire creation. With John the Baptist, we might go to the desert, we might turn to the harsh places where we can do nothing but examine our lives, the things we have done and left undone, the aspects we want to strengthen and the aspects that we need to change. This journey to the desert may have aspects of penitence, of setting aside the things of the flesh, of even participating in fasting, prayer and reflection. However, with John we are "preparing a way" for the Lord and not merely focusing on our own lives. The preparation is also an acknowledgment that God is on the way.