Today is the very last day of the Church year, a liturgical no-man’s land between what has come and what lies ahead. Tomorrow marks the first day of Advent, when we start preparing for the Savior’s coming.
But what are we supposed to do in the meantime?
While we’re excited to snuggle into our flannel pajamas for Christmas movies, Jesus insists on talking about our hearts in today’s readings.
Okay, Jesus—we’re listening.
“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness . . .”
I guess I’ll try to be aware of how much egg nog I drink this season?
“. . . and the anxieties of daily life . . .”
Oh, that hits closer to home. My heart can get anxious in the buildup to the holidays. I’ll try to be aware of that, too.
“. . . and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth.”(Luke 21:34-36)
This isn’t helping my anxiety, Jesus.
How can anyone get ready for an event that no one can anticipate at a time no one can predict?
Why can’t I just lounge on my sofa and enjoy a relaxing Christmas season already?
Well, it’s not Christmas yet. It’s not even Advent yet. Tomorrow, we can start pondering the mystery of what it means to welcome the Savior of the World into the world we inhabit. Maybe this commitment to walking in rhythm with the Church and postponing the celebration seems arbitrary or restrictive.
But Jesus is telling us why we need to wait. We need to be vigilant. We need to pay attention. The world all around us is blinded by the twinkling lights precisely because it is so dark without them. We need to see that darkness, because it reminds us why we need a Savior in the first place.
So that’s what we do today, in the already-but-not-yet, when the whole salvation story has unfolded and stands ready to begin again. We wait. We watch. We stare into the darkness before we anticipate the Light . . . and we ask Him to accompany us into the unknown, where we don’t have to be anxious because we are never alone.
Instead of lounging today, plan some time for conscious waiting, for watching and being present in prayer.
Abbey Dupuy writes her life as a homeschooling mama of four frequently barefoot children. She muses about imperfect parenting, practicing gratitude, and celebrating the liturgical year with her young family on her blog. In her spare time, she enjoys running, gardening, coffee, and cookbooks, not usually at at the same time. You can find out more about her here.