Illustration by Phil Younk
Click on Photo for printable PDF!

Advent is reminder that Jesus comes to us every day

Based on the Gospel of Mark 13:33-37

“Be watchful!” “Be alert!”
This is the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the church’s new liturgical year. The word “advent” means coming. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Day. It’s a joyful time of expectation and preparation for Christmas, the first coming of Jesus as a baby in Bethlehem.
As we listen to the readings and the Gospels during Advent, much of what is read has little to do with Jesus as a baby. But, Advent is more than waiting for Jesus’ coming as a baby in Bethlehem or tracking the number of days until Christmas. 
Advent tells us that Jesus comes to us every day with love, hope, wisdom, peace and joy. When we go to Mass, when we receive holy Communion, when we pray, when we are loving, kind, forgiving and share with others, when we see the beauty of nature in the changing seasons, when others are kind and helpful to us, Jesus comes daily into our lives and the world around us.
Advent also reminds us our earthly world will not last forever. At the end of time, Jesus will come once more to bring people home to heaven with him. He tells us about this not to scare us but to motivate us to be ready at all times because only God the Father knows when Jesus’ second coming in glory will take place.
Thus, Advent tells us of three comings of Jesus – past, present, and future: Jesus coming to earth as a baby in Bethlehem, Jesus coming to us each day as we live the way Jesus taught us – loving and serving God and others, and Jesus coming again in glory at the end of time.
Use the watching and waiting time of Advent to get ready for Jesus’ coming:
? Spend more time in prayer and reading about Jesus in the Scriptures.
? Get your heart ready for Jesus with the sacrament of reconciliation by going to confession to free yourself of sins that block you from receiving Jesus’ love, grace and blessings.
? Pray the rosary for world peace, particularly the Joyful Mysteries, and think about the early events in Jesus’ life.
? Be watchful, looking for Jesus in others and the world around us. Be prayerful, good, forgiving and loving.
? Donate nonperishable food items to your church’s food pantry for the needy.
? Go through your closets and storage areas for usable clothes, toys and books to give to the poor.
? Help Mom and Dad get the house ready for Christmas and family celebrations.
? Lord Jesus, help us to open our hearts to you and to walk the path that you have set before us.