The season of Advent is a time of preparation. For centuries, the Church has taught that believers are called to prepare themselves for the coming of the Christ child at Christmas. Preparation puts us in a position to be ready for the arrival.
In a sense, we can also think of Advent as a time to prepare ourselves in other ways. We love instant gratification because it’s easy and involves no hard work. It doesn’t require anything from us. We want our dream and plans and goals to come to fruition NOW, not after the difficult work of making ourselves ready to receive. Neither the church nor we ourselves want to reflect on ourselves and what we need to do, we just want the dream or goal to come to pass with little or no effort. The fact is, however, that receiving something before we have done the hard work of preparation leads only to defeat and short-lived goals because we fall right back into the pattern of wanting without working.
So, as Advent passes, let’s commit to doing the hard work, asking ourselves - as individuals and as a church - the hard questions, and taking whatever steps needed to put us in the place where we are truly ready to receive. It may be hard work, but in the end, it proves to be of lasting worth.