By Terry Lees
“IT’S beginning to look a lot like Christmas”.
These are words of a Christmas song that we might echo now, for, with just a few weeks to go, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
How are we to prepare for Christmas?
That’s what the Advent season is – the four weeks that prepare us for Christmas, for the Birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
It is a time of renewal, for celebrating the seasonal reminder of the presence of God with us, the season when we face the choice between acquiescing to the darkness or acting on our own desire for the dawn. Such action would mean exposing our lives in the clear light of day.
There are moments in nature you just know God wants you to witness. For me, one such occasion was a truly magnificent sunrise.
Layers of cloud, normally white, were in colours of gold, orange, purple and red.
What a spectacular start to my day.
How can you put into words the beauty of the moment – the colours, the spectacle that is evidence of the master artist at work?
There are no words to do it justice.
I grabbed a camera, flicked the “on” switch and the words “Warning – Battery depleted” came onto screen.
Plan A was a bust.
Plan B – my smart phone.
Thankfully I captured several shots of the scene before the dawning sun moved past its beautiful start.
Later, it occurred to me that camera message – “Warning – Battery depleted” – could well have applied to me.
Maybe God saw my batteries being depleted and wanted me to witness His glory and warn me to take some time out to recharge my batteries.
Often, in the busyness, the hustle and bustle of our days it is so easy to run yourself into the ground.
The word “stress” has become synonymous with our work and family lives.
Too frequently we hear of people who are taking stress leave because they can no longer handle the pressures of daily life.
We long for a return to a “simpler” way of life but don’t seem to know exactly what it means or how to attain it.
Advent is a time in which we are invited to withdraw and make time for prayer and reflection. It is a wonderful, God-given opportunity to discover the gift of repentance and the grace of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It does require a special grace and some courage to open up our lives in this way, but it is important to understand that we are not confessing to the priest: we are laying down our burden before God.
And we can come to know in a deeply personal way the mercy, forgiveness and compassion of God.
The human heart is complicated – we know that! We need that one who will invade our hearts with love, forgiveness and guide us in ways that are straight.
Jesus, the One soon to come, is that gentle, compassionate guide.
It is that same Jesus who invites us to: “Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest …” (Matthew 11:28)
Provided we truly believe, there is some action required.
The most important action step is to come to Jesus, to talk with Him about our concerns and to hand them over to Him.
Easier said than done?
Still, unless we take that step, we continue to carry the burdens ourselves. Let go and let God.
Jesus will transform you if you but allow Him to do so.
Jesus calls us to open ourselves to love.
Live the true meaning of the Gospel; reveal love and compassion in your daily life.
Yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – come, Lord Jesus, come.
Terry Lees lives in Mount Isa and is an active member of Good Shepherd Parish.