I've been taking a bit of a break from the old blog. Lot of work on at the moment, run-up to Christmas etc. Anyway a few folks said nice things about my homilies these 2 Sundays of Advent, so I thought I'd try to put something about them on here.
Advent is a particularly Christian concept - the God-who-comes. At Christmas we are celebrating, looking back to the First Coming of Jesus, his first Advent. But the liturgy of the First Sunday of Advent also points us to His second coming - at the end of time, that mysterious point to which we are all headed. So we are caught between the "already" and the "not yet", suspended as it were on the tightrope of the present.
As we journey from the one to the other, God's graciousness enables us to experience many "mini-Advents" - to keep us going, as it were. When the Word of God takes flesh in our hearts and lives - that is Advent. When we commune with the Lord in our quiet moments - if we can find them in this busy season - his coming to us is a mini-Advent. Of course, in the Eucharist we are particularly close to the One-who-comes. At the altar steps we reach out for the one Jesus, our Holy Communion is a sublime personal Adventing of the Lord to us.
But we can also experience Jesus coming to us through other people. That unexpected smile or good deed, that unsolicited phone call from a friend or love done. That apparently random caring gesture from a complete stranger - these are surely often telling us of the presence of Jesus in and through other people.
This brings us to a question, or maybe a challenge for Advent. If others can bring Advent to me... to whom can I bring Advent this year? Advent, like Christmas, is really about giving as well as receiving. So, into whose life do I have the possibility of bringing the presence of Jesus? For whom can I be Advent?