As we begin Advent – A Moment with the Bishop – December 2, 2019

Yesterday we started the great season of
Advent – the time of fully preparation for the celebration of Christmas. Advent
lasts four weeks, or at least there’s four Sundays of Advent, leading up to the
celebration of the birth of Christ. When we look at the Old Testament, the
prophecies of the Old Testament are just filled with this desire, filled with this
longing, that God would come down here. Isaiah says, “oh that you would rend
the curtain that separates us from you.” There’s this deep desire on the part of
the people of the Old Testament, the Jewish people, to see the face of God, to
have God dwell with them, the advent of the Messiah, God one with us which is
what Emmanuel means. Those desires, those prophecies, those expectations were met
beyond all possible imagination, in the person of Jesus Christ.
Because no matter what Isaiah, and Zechariah, and Jeremiah longed for, none
of them dared to think that God Himself would come to us in human form. No one
would have thought that God would humble himself, or lower himself, to that degree,
to become one of His own creatures. And yet that is precisely what happens in
the person of Jesus. And so the Scriptures for mass during Advent always put, side by side, an Old Testament prophecy and then how that prophecy or desire is
fulfilled in the life and the ministry of Jesus. So as we work our way through
Advent, we can think of our own desires, our own longings, our own expectations,
and realize that Jesus has fulfilled them beyond all expectation, that God
loves us beyond anything that we can imagine. And that as we move through this holy season of longing, of joy, of hope of expectation that God is with us.
Emmanuel is born among us, and within us, in the
proclamation of the Word, in the celebration of the sacraments, in the
charity and mercy that has been poured into our hearts. So let us pray for each
other in this Advent season. Let Advent be Advent. We live in a culture that has
instant Christmas. I saw Christmas decorations in the
stores already near Halloween time. Let Advent be Advent, so that when Christmas comes we can celebrate that with with love, and joy, and thanksgiving, because we have
prepared well in these holy days of Advent expectation.


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