Our part is to “be vigilant at all times and pray.” This is our time of testing.
Michelle Malkin is a well known journalist and social commentator. In a recent interview she told of how she temporarily lost sight of the “big picture” and the near tragedy that resulted.
Michelle has two children and lives and works in the Washington D.C. Area. As her writing, speaking, and television appearances became more popular, she took on more and more responsibility. She began hosting news shows on one of the most popular cable networks and her articles were appearing in print and online in some of the most read and highly trafficked magazines and websites.
She also started to develop a taste for the glitz and glamor that comes with being a popular public figure. Her profession took over more and more of her life leaving less and less time for her family.
One day she was driving home between shows. Her neighbor's children were playing in the yard and as she pulled her SUV up the steep driveway she saw her son's face in the living room window. She was in such a hurry to get inside that she forgot to set the vehicle's parking brake.
As she went inside the SUV started rolling back down the driveway toward the playing children. She ran back outside but it was too late and all she could do was watch in horror as the truck rolled towards her neighbor's kids. At the last second the vehicle collided with a young birch tree which stopped its descent down the steep drive. The sound of the SUV hitting the tree alerted the children who quickly ran out of the way. It wasn't until that moment that they realized the danger they were in.
Michelle described the experience as a wake-up call. It made her realize that her priorities had become skewed. It sparked a family decision to radically alter their lifestyle before it was too late.
We may not become celebrities or television personalities, but we live in the same fast-paced culture that demands more and more of our time and attention. Advent serves as a kind of spiritual wake-up call from God.
“in these last days, he spoke to us through a son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe” Hebrews 1:2
As the Church begins a new year we look to the beginning…and the end. The time of Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of the Lord, not only as a babe in Bethlehem but also as the divine judge at the end of all things.
The birth of Christ is the beginning of the end; God has spoken His final Word. All the time in between, from the incarnation to the final judgment is simply the time God has allowed us to decide, do we trust in Him or not? Do we accept Him or will we turn away?
It is easy for us to get caught up in the world. Awards and recognition are frequently the only measure we have of how successful we are in our professional careers. But as the the year comes to a close and we enter the season of short cold days, it is a good time to reflect upon our values and priorities. Have we been serving our own egos or have we been serving our families, our friends and our communities? That is, have we been following our own whims and desires, or have we been following God?
The Christ child comes with sword in hand; He is destined for the rise and fall of many. He comes to save the world but also to divide it. Whoever rejects Him and refuses to accept His words, will be condemned on the Last Day. Christmas is not a festival of peace and goodwill, it is a signal that God has come among us and now is the time for us to decide.
C.S. Lewis wrote;
“When the author walks onto the stage, the play is over. God is going to invade, all right; but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else comes crashing in? This time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. That will not be the time for choosing; It will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side.”
We face many decisions in our lives, and each decision shapes our lives and ourselves. This process will continue until that time when we die and are called to give an account of our actions. Ultimately all of the choices we make, the jobs we accept and the commissions we turn down, are our responsibility.
Our part is to “be vigilant at all times and pray.” We have been told in recent weeks it is not for us to know the day or the hour. What is important is that we are always ready. This is our time of testing.
Watch and pray.
The First Sunday of Advent
Pontifex University is an online university offering a Master’s Degree in Sacred Arts. For more information visit the website at www.pontifex.university
Lawrence Klimecki, MSA, is a deacon in the Diocese of Sacramento. He is a public speaker, writer, and artist, reflecting on the intersection of art and faith and the spiritual “hero’s journey” that is part of every person’s life. He maintains a blog at www.DeaconLawrence.org