With or without you
Think about the last time you got involved at church, more involved than just attending Mass. For some of us it might be a long and painful dredging of our memories, so much time has passed. Oh we’re willing and able, but we’re used to letting more experienced or eager volunteers get there first. It’s easy to get complacent, and a tad lazy, as long as the work gets done in the end. But how do we know the work is done? While we’re admiring other’s efficiency, it’s hard to see the missing part: what we could have added. Sure, that ministry or a service will “get by” without us, but who knows what it could accomplish with us?
Consider John the Baptist. He didn’t ask who else volunteered, or if someone was more qualified. John simply got up, got out and did the job that needed doing. Now John wasn’t the only traveling preacher in Jordan, and maybe he wasn’t even the best preacher. But because John was willing, people’s hearts and minds were prepared for Jesus’ arrival. Think of the souls and lives that might have been lost, had John left his job to someone else. Are you thinking that God’s work will get done with or without someone like you? Think again.
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Preparing the way, finding the way
Advent is a season when you feel either “into it” or not. There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. We are continually being told to prepare the way, which is right and good. However, we also need to find the way, the right way: There are a lot of distractions out there: gift buying, parties, card lists, cookies. Ironically if they are viewed properly some of these distractions can also remind us of the true meaning of Advent, bringing our hearts closer to God. The readings on this Second Sunday of Advent encourage us to realize that God truly desires us to “find the right way” and that He is there to help. If we rely on God, keeping Him close in prayer and thoughts, each Advent day will prepare the right way for Jesus our King. The “way” not to a sanctuary or a Christmas liturgy, but the way directly to our hearts.