Sunday, December 6, 2020: Second Sunday of Advent
Gospel: Mark 1:1-8
The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”
John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs on his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Last week, the word was WATCH! Today, it is PREPARE! We’ve had a long time of watching, watch where you put your hands, watch who you are with. Watch out! There is a killer out there.
We are all sick of it. But maybe our waiting could give us a sense of the waiting of the Israelites through centuries. They hoped and prepared for a Messiah, a redeemer, who would end their oppression. Isaiah’s poetic prophecies rang through the centuries down to our time. This COVID-19 germ is every bit as pervasive as the wars and rumors of wars that the Israelites had to deal with as they prepared.
Our call during Advent is to live hope even though this Christmas will be different than any Christmas we’ve known. This year, because of our isolation, some of us had more time to think, time to realize what our family means to us at a new level. We have time to prepare for a different Christmas. Many of us won’t see parents, brothers and sisters, children and grandchildren except through FaceTime or Zoom. It’s not the same. But the reality is: The love is the same. It will take all our creativity to find ways to strengthen the bonds of love in new ways this year. Gratefulness will be the bedrock which will ground our connection to the God who is love.
Use a calendar or an old notebook and each day write something that moved you to gratefulness. The collected list will be something to share in phone calls to various family members during the Christmas holidays. Check out www.gratefulness.org.