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Advent is here. Again.

You might ask, “Why do we need Advent again? Why do we have to keep doing this over and over again?” Jesus already came – why do we need to prepare for His coming each year?

A song we sometimes sing in Mass during the Advent season (and at other times) – God of Day and God of Darkness – helps answer that question .Jesus came – He walked on this earth, he died and he rose, but

Still the nations curse the darkness,
Still the rich oppress the poor;
Still the earth is bruised and broken
By the ones who still want more.

Advent is here again because we desperately need it. Our world desperately needs it.

We need this period of waiting and preparing. Unlike those waiting for the birth of Jesus over two thousand years ago, for us the outcome of Advent is not a surprise. We go into Advent knowing the plot – we know Jesus Christ will be born. Indeed, we know the whole plot – we know that God will become human, live among us, die and then rise. So we wait each year for something we know is coming – the coming of Christmas, and our recelebration of the birth of Christ and all that we know follows from that.

But we don’t just wait. We prepare ourselves. Advent offers us a chance to assess our spiritual condition; to be sure we are ready to welcome Christ into our hearts and homes. It allows us to deepen our acceptance of God’s working through us to prepare for Christ’s reign.

And so as we begin Advent, we might reflect on: What will I do during this Advent to give reality to the rule of Immanuel? How will I help birth Christ into the world?

Susan J. Stabile