Advent: God invites us to change our ways
Advent is not solely a time for us to reflect on a historical event taking place some 2,000 years ago. Nor is it merely a time for us to anticipate Jesus’ return in glory. No, it’s much more than either of these alone or together.
Advent is a time of preparation and transformation. It’s a time set aside for us by our church so that we can make room in our hearts for Jesus and truly be ready to receive him. Advent is a time when we are especially encouraged to allow our personal history to meet the history of the Cross, the moment of our salvation.
The Cross is that pivotal moment in time, that watershed moment when the fortunes of sinful humanity were dramatically reversed by the obedience of God’s only Son. It’s that moment when our world was transformed by the glory of God and those lost in sin were able to return at long last from their exile.
Advent is not a time for us to mourn. No, it’s a time for us to rejoice and to be glad that we have been set free by a God who genuinely loves us and desires to stay with us. He wants to transform us with his all-consuming love.
He desires for us to experience a "metanoia," a complete change of mind and heart because our minds have been conditioned by a fallen world and our hearts have been shaped by what has gone wrong in our lives. Our hope has been stunted by our own sinfulness.
It’s time for us to think with a new mind and to hope with a new heart. It’s time for us to repent of our sins and to be bathed in the healing balm of God’s love. It’s time for us to return from the desert and lie in verdant pastures. God is about to act, so be certain to make ready his resting place.
Father Walter Nolte is pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Fremont. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.