Advent: A Time For Waiting - II
by Fr. Peter deSousa
The Jewish people for centuries, waited with eager longing for the promised
Messiah. Many expected him to come in power and glory to overthrow the Roman
occupation troops and establish his kingdom in Jerusalem. These expected a
privileged place in this kingdom, as first class citizens. They would enjoy
power, wealth and prestige. On their part, they had to observe God's law,
laid out in the Ten Commandments and several later laws and prescriptions.
Some like the Pharisees, kept these meticulously and expected in return, to
enjoy all the rights as citizens of this messianic kingdom. This was their
plan and not God's plan. God's plan was different. It was God alone who
would save them, in His own time and way.
A child would be born in a stable, helpless and powerless. Mary and Joseph
and the shepherds were poor people. They believed that nothing was
impossible with God. His kingdom was not of this world. Those who knew they
were poor, helpless and powerless needed God. Sinners too, who were helpless
to overcome sin by their own efforts but believed in God's mercy to redeem
them were also eligible to be citizens of this kingdom.
Many of us may not be poor, helpless and powerless today. But we are sinners
who need God. As we wait for Christmas, to celebrate his coming into our
midst, we may desire instant love, joy and peace, so that we may escape from
our miserable prisons of self-centred love and self-worship.
Many in the home are like single grains of wheat. Husband, wife and
children are alone, caught up in their own fears, worries, annoyances and
frustrations. Each one seeks some pleasure or power over the other. Maybe we
use each other as objects for our own satisfaction. One scores at the
expense of the other. One laughs at the other's failures. Guilt increases
and is buried beneath a mound of frenetic activity at office, in shopping
malls or in compulsive socializing. Or perhaps it is in solo, pious
activities or good works, where one feels holier than the other. An escape
into alcohol, drugs or over-work is common. Buried guilt leads to
depression. Psychosomatic illnesses are common escapes from boredom and
frustration in the home.
As children wait for Santa Claus to bring them toys, so many adults wait
with longing expectation for a new car, house, holiday or citizenship in
another country where they hope to lead a more comfortable and secure life.
We work hard; we save money; we make significant sacrifices. We pray to an
infant Jesus dressed up like a prince of Prague to obtain these things for
us. But when we have another look at the crib and its occupants, we notice
their littleness, their simplicity and their humility. How can we imitate
The kingdom of God has already entered into our world with Jesus. It is not
a future reality after enjoying an earthly kingdom in this life. Blessed are
the poor (and the dispossessed), for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. The
kingdom, like heaven is in their hearts, not on cloud nine. The kingdom is
not a passing experience during a retreat or a prayer session, although one
may receive a glimpse and a foretaste of it in such ways. It is not enough
to sing, preach or pray about the kingdom in a formula that we rattle off.
The kingdom is closely connected with doing God's will for us. That is why
Jesus prayed "Thy kingdom come! They will be done!"
What is God's will for our marriage and home? As a couple and family, we
need to imitate Mary and open our lives to the Word of God and the Spirit of
God this Advent. If we sincerely do this, God will reveal to the little ones
what is hidden from the wise and the learned. He will open our eyes to
recognize his presence in our home, the members of our family and the poor
whom He sends into our lives, as his messengers to evangelize us. He will
give us the hearts of children, akin to the hearts of the Holy Family and
the shepherds. Advent is a time of conversion of mind and heart and values.
It is a time of waiting with longing love for Jesus, like Mary and Joseph.
It is a time of waiting like the shepherds, with hope for a Savior who
will redeem us. It is a time of being open to the unexpected manner in which
So here are some suggestions as to how we can prepare to meet our Savior at
- Give up our belief that we can manipulate God and bribe, cajole or bluff
Him so that He obeys our will.
- Believe that we and others are precious in His eyes and reborn in His
- Consider others better than ourselves and seek to love, serve, forgive
and appreciate them.
- Be reconciled with all those who have hurt us and ask forgiveness from
all those we have hurt.
- Pray with a humble heart, for the grace to recognize him in the little,
the simple, the poor, as we recognize him in the breaking of the bread.
- Prepare this Christmas to greet and celebrate his coming also with those
who cannot return a favour, except by sharing with us the love and presence
of Jesus, in the stables in which He now resides.
E-mail this article to a friend
For Better or for Worse copyright © Fr. Peter deSousa. All rights reserved.