December 1 – Advent Reflection

 

It is officially December. For the next 25 days we will be flooded with ads forcing us to consider purchasing “the perfect gift.” For the next 25 days we will be rushing from one party to the next and smiling through awkward small talk with in-laws, colleagues, and family we only see once a year. For the next 25 days we will be cramming for tests, riffling through countless papers, and hoping to complete everything before the deadline. For the next 25 days we will be caught in a storm of confusion and emotions as we await the eventual pile of discarded rubbish that follows the celebration of the Christ child. For the next 25 days we will be like the house in today’s Gospel standing admits a thunderstorm. Will we be the house built upon solid rock or loose sand?

In today’s reading we are faced with the all too familiar parable from Matthew of the “the wise and the foolish builders.” With parables such as this, we often quickly dismiss it thinking we have little else to learn. Yet these eternal words of Jesus were not just intended for the disciples of his time, but for even us today. So perhaps when we place this story in our current context we can reconsider its weight and what foundation we find ourselves built upon.

Have I lied, gossiped, or cheated because it was the easier way out? Crack. Have I indulged more on stuff than on people and places of importance? Crack. Have I burned a relationship with a family member, friend, colleague, or stranger because of the results of the recent election? Crack. Crack. Crack. Have I cursed others more than I have praised others? Crack. Have I purposefully avoided someone in need because “I just don’t have time for that”? Crack! Have I lost sight of God and looked for support by indulging in an unhealthy activity? Crack.

In these coming days before Christmas, if you answered the questions above like I did, I imagine we might find ourselves in need of some patchwork to fix our not-so-solid foundation. This new liturgical year and season of Advent calls us to renew and return to the workshop and prepare for the coming of Christ. We are invited to recognize the goodness of others and create a loving space for Christ to enter. While the world around us is consumed by the holiday storm, the wisdom of Advent rather invites us to retreat from that storm of our culture and spend our time loving more, giving more, and creating more time with people in need.

As the next 25 days of the calendar tick away, may we all pray for the master builder to fix our house on solid ground and renew our hearts for the love of God. In those moments of grace, may we recognize the peace of Christ in us all and create a home within our world and ourselves that is built on solid rock.

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