FIRST WEEK of ADVENT
The Gospel Reading from the First Sunday of Advent speaks with great urgency – Be prepared! Stay Awake! For you do not know on which day the Lord will come. [Matthew 24]. Quite honestly, I don’t spend my waking hours wondering when Jesus is coming. Rather, I’m usually on the sideline making demands of Jesus, “C’mon let’s get this show on the road.” Every Advent, I am reminded to wait, to be still, and to listen.
For the first week, in the silence of my heart, I listened and asked: Loving God, what are you asking of me, of our children, of all of us this Advent Season? For a couple of days I reflected on that question. “Be Prepared! Stay Awake!” became a mantra as I pondered the many and sundry ways we are preparing our children for Reconciliation. In prayer I felt a sense of urgency as I wondered, how are we responding to God’s invitation to foster cultures of reconciliation and peace in our family, at our the workplace, in the neighborhood, and within our school communities?
As this Advent draws us closer to our children’s first encounter with Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, let’s resolve for each week of Advent to sustain the momentum. Perhaps, this 1st week of Advent, as we light the first purple candle we anticipate those teachable moments that we can use to will help our children grow in empathy and self-esteem.
For the remaining week, let’s look for situations to help our children become aware of the feelings of others, or to listen with respect to those whose who may think or respond differently than we do to a situation. This week, expect teachable moments to occur to help us fine-tune our children’s empathy and self-esteem. I have a few ideas to add to yours…
- Next time you watch a Christmas show or retell a story – Grinch who Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Christmas Story, It’s A Wonderful Life… Ask your child, “What would you do if you were there?”
- Talk about situations at work, at school, or in the neighborhood that call for empathy and compassion.
- Read together the Story of Jesus healing two blind men [Matthew 20:32-34] “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on us! . . . Lord, let our eyes be opened. Moved with pity, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight, and followed him. [I’m certain these two blind men knew neither the time, nor the hour that Jesus would come. Would you agree?]
- Gaze into the mirror and slowly say: “I am created in God’s image and likeness.” [Genesis 1:27]
This 1st week of Advent, may the little candle of our Advent wreath glow brightly enabling us to see the other with the eyes of Jesus. Be prepared! Get Ready! Come Lord Jesus!