Time is one of the most expensive commodities on earth. We notice this when we are about to organize a meeting. We see how difficult it is to get people to agree on a fixed date, because everyone is busy looking at his or her calendar, checking whether the time for the meeting is suitable or not. Even making a visit to someone who is retired is no longer easy. One needs an appointment in order to arrive at a suitable time for the visit.
Nevertheless, time cannot be classified as absolute. Albert Einstein, in his theory of relativity, sees time as relative and as something that depends on space. Even our human experience shows how subjectively people experience time. When a child is playing, for instance, time moves very fast, but when he/she is doing homework, time seems to move very slowly. The same is applicable to us as adults. Hence, how we experience time depends on us and our situation. We experience time not only quantitatively but also qualitatively. That means that we can enrich our lives with the time given to us or waste it.
Advent as a Period to be Alert
The Apostle Paul, in the second reading of today, uses the term “waking up from sleep“ to designate the period of Advent as a period to be alert to the nearness of our redemption. He is saying in effect that we will definitely miss Christmas, if we do not include the Advent programs in our time planning. The season of Advent is given to us, so that we can wake up from our complacent sleep, so as to be able to perceive the richness of the mystery we celebrate at Christmas.
We are called also to be conscious to the uniqueness of our celebration. Each Advent season gives us the opportunity to begin again with new strength and enthusiasm in our spiritual and material struggles and commitments. Each Advent season recalls the faithfulness of God. Who through the ministry of the Church, allows us to share anew in the mystery of our salvation. This by accompanying us with its story throughout the church‘s liturgical year.
The readings of today calling us to wake up show that we can participate in the coming of Christ. The Rabbis have two old sayings in this regard. The first one is about a Jewish mother telling her little children, “Do a good deed, for every time you do a good deed, the Messiah, the Christ, comes one step closer to the world.” Secondly, the Rabbis used to say, “The Messiah is coming, the one who will heal us and save us and change all things. And he walks to the edge of the city. And it is nighttime. And he walks from one end of the city, through the whole city, and he comes to the end.
And nobody stops and nobody asks, and nobody cares. And the Messiah walks out the other end and nobody is touched.” Also, on the outside stonework of Autun Cathedral in Burgundy, there is a sculpture displaying three kings all together in one bed. Above them is an angel pointing at a star hovering above them. One is awakened and gazes at it. One only opens one eye. The other is fast asleep with both eyes closed. The Apostle Paul likewise challenges us to reflect on how expectant we are with regard to the coming of Christ.
This is because our staying awake in order to partake of this special time of our salvation remains in line with the messianic vision of Isaiah. And, the predictions of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. According to these readings, Advent gives us the opportunity to a new birth of Christ again in us. Also to re-member ourselves into the family of God, in expectation of the Lord‘s coming in our life. May God grant us a blessed Advent season. And a joyful experience of the birth of our savior and his company through the new church‘s liturgical year.