Not only is it the first day of Advent today, but it’s the first day of December and here in New Zealand life gets even busier as we prepare for the end of the work and school year leading up to the summer break which begins for many people on Christmas Eve.
In the midst of the extra demands of this month, the Season of Advent beginning today offers a timely way to stay happy and centred when everything else threatens to steal our healthy perspective.
What do I mean by healthy perspective?
Healthy perspective comes when I face life’s ultimate facts as presented in today’s readings:
“You know. ‘the time’ has come: you must wake up now: our salvation is even nearer than it was…”
“Stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
In years past these scriptures would have motivated many fire and brimstone sermons, with unhappy preachers seeking to fill people with fear by stirring up a fear of death. But fear (which is often the opposite of love) is not as powerful and effective a motivator as love which casts out all fear.
It is a fact that most of what I spend each day driven by (possessions, ambitions, goals etc) will not accompany me into eternity. Worldly success, achievement and financial security are remarkably fickle short-term anaesthetics able to satisfy only those who think short-term.
Healthy perspective comes when I ask, ‘what in my life today will bring me real happiness both today and eternally, and what are the conversations and projects and who are the people who help me to live fully.
Living with this depth of awareness transforms all fear as we face every present challenge and encounter ready to meet Jesus not only eternally but here and now in every moment.
Try living today with this meditation, discerning in every moment what and who helps me to distinguish what is passing from what is real.
You might like to use this prayer which is based on the Prayer after Communion from todays liturgy.
Even now as we walk amid passing things
teach us by them to love the things of heaven
and to hold fast to what endures
Through Christ Our Lord