Not long ago, a good friend of mine got married. The months preceding her wedding were a time of intense preparation, attending to the details of invitations, reception venues, clothing, food and the ceremony itself. All this was being done amid her usual very full and busy life.
I remember wondering what gave her the motivation to work so hard on the preparations for her wedding. The answer came at the wedding. The groom walked in with his parents, his face clearly showing this was the happiest day of his life. Then followed the bride. With Mom and Dad on each arm, she was radiant, standing straight and looking her best. As the groom took her hand, tears were streaming from his eyes. When asked how he was feeling in that moment, he said he was awestruck with the beauty of his bride and overcome with the thought that she was really his. My friend prepared so intensely for her wedding out of a deep desire to look and be radiant for her groom. She had dreams of being her best on her wedding day. And she was.
The Gospel on this First Sunday of Advent is about the return of Jesus in glory. He speaks of the day when he will take us with him to live completely in his presence. The desire of his heart is for us to be ready. Jesus does not want to take us by surprise. Jesus desires for us to meet him being our best. He wants us to be able to “stand erect and raise our heads” looking radiant in his presence (Luke 21:25-36). Imagine one day seeing Jesus gazing at us with tears in his eyes saying, “you are so beautiful, and you are mine.”
Advent calls us to prepare to be our best and our most radiant. It is a time to let our goodness shine. Maybe we can shed a few pounds of selfishness. Or iron out the wrinkles of the grudges we carry. A time to adorn ourselves with prayer and love. Advent reminds us to watch for the Lord’s arrival by actively preparing.
When asked how she got time to prepare for her wedding, my friend said, “I don’t get time, I make time.” Advent is the season for us to make time to be our best and most radiant. Jesus stands ready to meet us.
Together in faith,
Very Rev. Christopher Smith, rector