Here we are at the second Sunday of Advent as the seconds, minutes, hours and weeks continue to pass away as we hurtle towards Christmas at breakneck speed. Just think about the amount of money the various shops and many other places  and people are making but as the shops make their money I wonder how many of the people spending that money without rhyme or reason really understand the meaning of Advent and Christmas. Advent is all about WAITING and this weekend we continue our wait as we light the second purple candle on the Advent Wreath. In the gospel reading John the Baptist the voice in the wilderness takes centre stage as he calls us to prepare the way and make the paths straight for the lord. He also tells us that there is someone coming after him who is more powerful than he was and that he was not fit to undo the strap of his sandal. So are we making the paths straight for the lord as we try to make sense of all the ongoing razzmatazz or are we going with the flow, just too busy with all the secular preparations to really take notice of the importance of the preparation that John the Baptist talks about? 

We need to remember that John the Baptist was called to reawaken the sense of expectation among a people that had grown tired and distant from God as many have done in our present time.   John was called to bring renewal to the institutional expressions of religion which, at the time, had so often become fossilized into mere formulae or external ritual.  This too is what has happened to a large extent within the Church these days. However having said that at the present time under Pope Francis our Church is being renewed for the work that needs to be done in our time and place with all its problems and opportunities. The Church in every age must become like John the Baptist, an uncomfortable reminder of how we must allow the truth of Jesus to break into our lives to enlighten the darkness that can at any moment enter into our own lives or the life of the Church.

As the journey of Advent continues we prepare to celebrate the nativity of Christ, John the Baptist’s call to conversion sounds out in our communities. As we continue our preparations for the razzmatazz of Christmas let us not forget the true and lasting message of Christmas a message that has lasted for over 2,000 years and the message is that god came among us.

All of us are called to take up the Baptists call of renewal, it is the call to reawaken within ourselves the fact that Jesus is god with us Emmanuel who will make the glory of his voice be heard and seen through us in the Joy we give to others and the Joy of that is there in our own hearts.  Christianity is a religion of anticipation. We await the coming of the Lord in glory. We also await that magical razzmatazz of the Christmas season, a time of peace. So as we continue our preparation for Christmas will it be the secular razzmatazz that will take over our celebration of Christmas or will it be Jesus the Child in the Manger the reason for the season who will take his  place amongst our families friends and  all the other things? We need to refocus ourselves as we try to prepare the way for the Lord doing our best to make his paths straight, especially in the our own lives.


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