Today marks the beginning of my observing the Church calendar. I admit it is hard to get into the spirit of Advent when Christmas looms so large everywhere I turn. This is especially true working in retail. Christmas music is on the radio and playing in the store. At least I can turn off the radio or find another station. I have little control about what plays in the store.
I focused my thoughts today on the coming of our Lord. I read through the lectionary readings from both the Catholic church and from the Revised Common Lectionary (they are virtually identical with just a few minor differences). I also did the readings from the Holy Bible Mosaic. Here's how the three compared:
Ps. 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
I Thess. 3:12 – 4:2
Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
Revised Common Lectionary:
Jer. 33: 14-16
I Thess. 3:9-13
Holy Bible Mosaic:
I Cor. 1:4-9
(Suggested: Isaiah 11:1-16; 35:1-10)
Because we are in year C the Gospel readings come from the Gospel of Luke. The Holy Bible Mosaic provides a reading from Matthew. Today I'll leave you with a thought from Pope John Paul II as found in the Holy Bible Mosaic and a quote from Edward Hays from his book A Pilgrim's Almanac.
". . . we must understand that our whole life should be an 'advent,' in vigilant expectation of Christ's final coming. To prepare our hearts to welcome the Lord, who, as we say in the Creed, will come one day to judge the living and the dead, we must learn to recognize his presence in the events of our daily life. Advent is then a period of intense training that directs us decisively to the One who has already come, who will come, and who continuously comes." (The Holy Bible Mosaic page 16)
"Advent, like its cousin Lent, is a season for prayer and reformation of our hearts. Since it comes at winter time, fire is a fitting sign to help us celebrate Advent…If Christ is to come more fully into our lives this Christmas, if God is to become really incarnate for us, then fire will have to be present in our prayer. Our worship and devotion will have to stoke the kind of fire in our souls that can truly change our hearts. Ours is a great responsibility not to waste this Advent time." (A Pilgrim's Almanac page 187. The quote is as found here.)