Prepare for Christmas

2nd Sunday of Advent
By Fr. Chinnappan Pelavendran

On my way to Bloomer, I see pretty lights in windows and houses, in the trees, and even Christmas trees through windows. The streets in Bloomer and the stores are beautiful as well. We are preparing for Christmas. St. John the Baptist is also telling us to prepare for the coming of Christ. All the pretty decorations are getting us ready externally for Christmas, so we must prepare ourselves internally.

Sin entered into the world through Adam and Eve. In the beginning, God was already preparing to send His Son for our salvation. “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed.” (Gen 3: 15) God knew our weaknesses but loved us so much that He did not want to lose us.

God prepared Joachim and Anne for the birth of our Blessed Mother. Her Immaculate Conception occurred in their later years, but their faith in God was strong, and they prayed for a child. God was forming them.

Mother Mary was free from original sin as part of God’s plan for the redemption of humanity. The Blessed Mary was living an ordinary life as a young girl and did not know man. The Angel of the Lord appeared to Mother Mary and said “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” (Luke 1: 30) Through their conversation, the Angel of the Lord prepared Mother Mary to receive Jesus. God was preparing her.

St. Joseph was a just man and he was betrothed to Mother Mary. Before they came together she was found to be with child. He did not want to cause her any shame or embarrassment and planned to send her quietly. “The Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph saying, Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary for your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” ( Matthew 1:20) When Joseph awoke, he knew that he was OK to take Mother Mary as his wife. God was preparing him.

In Luke, we have the prodigal son, who collected all his inheritance from his father and left home. He squandered all of his wealth. A great famine arose in that country and he had nothing. He realized that he needed to go back home and ask for his father’s forgiveness. “Father I have sinned against heaven and before you, I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servant’s.” (Luke 15:19) The prodigal son prepared himself to meet his father.

Zacchaeus was a rich tax collector. He wanted to see Jesus. “He ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was to pass that way.” (Luke 19: 4)He was not embarrassed by climbing the tree in spite of his high position in society. Zacchaeus prepared himself to meet Jesus.

We prepare ourselves for so many material things in life, like for school tests, for our jobs, for parties, for marriages, for building homes, and for raising children. We are so busy getting ready for Christmas with gifts and decorations. More important than these are our spiritual needs.

St. John the Baptist asks us to prepare a way for the Lord and make his paths straight. What does this mean for us today? When people heard John speak, they confessed their sins and were baptized. An important part of our Advent Journey is acknowledging sins and confessing them. Let us not forget to prepare a place in our hearts to welcome Jesus!

God made sure to prepare for the birth of Jesus Joachim and Anne, Mother Mary and St. Joseph for their roles in the Incarnation of God’s only begotten Son. The prodigal son and Zacchaeus had to focus their lives towards God and His Mercy. These are all internal preparations to meet the Lord. What are your internal preparations? If you have not started, maybe it’s time for you to prepare to meet the Lord.

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