Advent 2017 Daily meditations

Isaiah 4:2-6

And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem. When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, 

It’s easy for us to think of Advent as merely preparation for Christmas. And it is. Yet, Advent is fundamentally the season of preparation for the arrival of the Word of God. In the first sense, that’s at the Incarnation. In the ultimate sense, that’s at the Parousia…i.e. the Second Coming.

Christ WILL come again!

Are we ready?

In this season of rampant pedophilia and sexual assault…of rabid White Supremacy and xenophobia…of polarization that has no desire for reconciliation, truly the mythical “New Jerusalem” that American Exceptionalism claims us to be is a filthy place.

What are we to do?

Isaiah tells us clearly: remain in the Holy Place (Zion) and City of God (Jerusalem). For if we are able to stand firm, “the Lord shall wash away the filth of the sons and the daughters of Zion…”

We ought rejoice and take comfort that we don’t have to wash ourselves…we don’t have to purge ourselves of the blood that runs through the City…through our Society and Culture and World. What we must do is prepare ourselves – mind, body and spirit – for the Coming One.

We must prepare ourselves for the One Who Is coming to separate the wheat from the tares, the sheep from the goats, the faithful from the wicked. We must prepare ourselves for the One Who Is coming to receive us and welcome us into His everlasting joy!

When Christmas is coming, we prepare. But how do we prepare?

Do we anxiously prepare, because we aren’t really looking forward to the feast? We aren’t really looking forward to the family gathering…or we feel our preparations will somehow fall short – as usual?

Or do we prepare with joy and expectation?

Do we look forward to the gathering of family and friends and the celebration of joy and love and oneness? Do we prepare for the gathering? Or do we prepare for the accouterments and ambiance of the gathering?

Then, the deeper question is how do we prepare for the Holy Gathering?

Are we preparing for that great feast? Are we preparing to joyously gather with friends and family we haven’t seen in a while or have never met? Are we prepared to gather lovingly with those we could never imagine would be at Table with us?

Are we remaining in the Holy Place? Or are we being dragged into the mud of division and discord and rancor? Are we simply surrounded by filth? Or are we wallowing in filth, gladly smearing it on our faces and sullying the image of God in which we are created?

“In that day, the Lord will shine in counsel and glory on the earth, to exalt and glorify those of Israel who remain.” Brothers and Sisters: stand firm in the faith! Prepare your hearts and minds and bodies! That Day is coming!

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