Prepare Your Heart in This New Year
Advent Reflection
November 25, 2021
Deacon Robert Collins
St. Rita, Rockford
Happy new year, everyone. I know what you’re thinking. It isn’t even Christmas yet. For retailers, the preparation for Christmas began about the second week of September when all of the new Christmas stuff hit the stores and by now we have been so immersed in the “Christmas season” that many of us are looking forward to Groundhog Day. 
But Sunday is the first day of Advent and the official beginning of the preparation for the Christmas season. It is also the start of our liturgical year, so it is New Year’s Day for the Church. 
How does the Church kick off our preparation for Christmas? First, the clergy start dressing in purple. They dread the coming conversation of, “It’s not pink, it’s rose.” And the readings for this weekend might leave you a bit confused, for they aren’t about Christmas at all.
The Gospel is about the coming of Jesus, but not the coming we would expect to hear this time of year. The Gospel is about the second coming of Christ at the end of time. 
That is a very odd way of starting off the new year, don’t you think? We spend the first day of the year talking about the last day of time. 
The Church begins the year by telling us our destination, a destination we all must face. Jesus warns us, “That day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth.” 
After Sunday, the Church will spend the rest of the year showing us the best path to follow to reach that destination.
That is what Advent is all about. It is time we have been given, not to focus on the end, but how we are growing in holiness along the way. 
Advent ends with us celebrating the birth of Jesus, but our growth in holiness should not end once the last of the wrapping paper hits the trash. Let us use this time to prepare our hearts to receive the greatest gift man has ever been given: the gift of a savior.


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