This week is the second of the Advent season. The word Advent comes from the Latin word adventus which means "coming" or "arrival." During Advent, we are anticipating the coming or arrival of Jesus Christ much as the Jewish people anticipated the coming of their promised Messiah. On the second Sunday of Advent, we light the second purple candle. This candle is sometimes called the Candle of Preparation and it represents the love that God has shared with us in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ who he promised to us. Jesus showed us this love through his sacrifice and death on the cross.
The second Sunday of Advent also reminds many of us that Christmas is almost here! I’m sure, everyone is excited that Christmas is just three weeks away. Many of us have begun to shop for gifts (if we aren’t already done!), decorate our homes, and maybe even attend a Christmas party or two. But, behind all of the hustle and bustle of the season, there is a much bigger picture; one that John the Baptist reminds us of in Matthew’s Gospel, today.
In today’s Gospel, John the Baptist advises to “Prepare the way of the Lord”. The Advent season gives us the opportunity to do just that; but sometimes we find ourselves looking passed the Advent season; laser focused on Christmas day. Why do we find the need to rush through this beautiful season of preparation? It is not likely that we would rush through the Christmas holiday in the same way. We spend so much of our time decorating our homes for Christmas, shopping for gifts, and baking cookies; our eye always ahead to the celebration of Christmas. Can we slow down and take a minute to think about what we are really preparing for? Should we be putting more of our anticipation and preparation into how we will receive Jesus on the feast of His birth? Maybe, this Advent season we can all take a minute to reflect on how we are preparing our hearts for God’s greatest gift: his son Jesus Christ.