Advent is the season for the church to contemplate and celebrate the long anticipated arrival of Jesus 2000 years ago. It also serves as a time for the church to celebrate the hopeful return of Christ, where we believe his presence will be manifested and his kingdom consummated here on earth.
We look back in celebration; we look forward in hope.
The content of our lives is filled in this space. We wait. How we wait is important, to be sure. When we grow bored of waiting, we often turn to superficial pleasures that minimize our horizons. Ultimately, our humanity is diminished.
Jesus provided us an alternate, more fully human way of living life in the between.
Advent and Christmas are propitious times to set your sights on Jesus’ life and to live as he did. Here are some fitting words provided by St. Hilary (and myself) to keep in mind as you follow Jesus on the way, as you wait for his return: gladness, hope, peace, poverty in spirit, purity of heart, everlasting treasure.
Hilary of Poitiers, Discourses, I, 1ff.
‘We await the Savior.’ In truth, the righteous man’s waiting is gladness, for he awaits the blessed hope and advent of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
‘What then am I awaiting,’ says the righteous man, ‘if not the Lord?’ . . . Poor in spirit, be happy you have stored up your treasures in heaven in accordance with the advice of the heavenly Counselor, for fear that your heart, like your treasure, would come to know corruption if left on earth! Indeed, the Lord says, ‘For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be’ (Matt 6:21).
May your hearts therefore follow their treasure! Set your thoughts on heavenly things, and may your expectation hold fast to God, so that you may say as the Apostle says, ‘But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ’ (Phil 3:20).