My mother had a bumper sticker that said "Jesus is coming, look busy!" This is a busy time of the year, Christmas is right around the corner and we're doing everything we can to get ready for it. The Church even gives us this wonderful season of Advent to prepare for the comings of Jesus. Yes, I said comings, as in more than one coming. Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus in a manger in Bethlehem, but it is also a time, especially in these first two weeks of Advent, when we prepare for the second coming of Jesus.
The readings we heard on the First Sunday of Advent remind us to keep awake, to be ready, because we do not know the day or the time that Jesus will come again. When I was maybe 5, I thought this meant that I had to actually stay awake, that lasted maybe an hour past my bedtime. While it's okay for us to go to sleep each night, Jesus wants us to be spiritually awake and ready for him to come. We're told that Jesus' second coming will be one when we know the true justice and love of God (CCC 1040). We're told that there will be a new heaven and new earth CCC1043-1045). While that day has not yet come, this first week of Advent reminds us that we can and should get ready.
We can get ready for his coming, preparing ourselves by taking advantage of the Sacramental Life of the Church, including going to Confession (Days of Confession), and by practicing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy (Works of Mercy) .
So hang your stockings, trim your tree, and set out your Christmas crèche, but remember, Christ hasn't just come, he will come again.
Rebecca Spellacy is the Associate Director for Liturgy in the Office of Formation for Discipleship.