A Message for Advent
Advent is a season of joyful preparation for, and expectation of, the coming of Christ into our lives, our homes, and our world. Advent is a time to direct our hearts and minds to the approaching celebration of the birth of Jesus on Christmas. Advent is not only a time for remembering the infant Jesus’ first coming but also a renewal of our desire for his second coming.
May we heed the powerful words in St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans: “You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Romans 3:11).
Advent for me is a time filled with hope. I find joy in the beauty, poetry, and hope of the Advent readings, especially when reading the Prophet Isaiah. I can’t help but be lifted up, my heart rejoices when I read and meditate on these beautiful words.
They were meant to give the Israelites and us, hope end encouragement in the midst of the struggles and difficulties of life. My wish is that during these Advent days, we take the time to listen and reflect on these encouraging words of scripture, to allow them to take root in our hearts and minds, and fill us with new hope.
Waiting with the Words of the Prophet Isaiah
I include here four of my favorite verses from the Book of Isaiah. Perhaps you may wish to pick one each week of Advent to add to your personal prayer and reflection.
“They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.” (Isaiah 2:4)
“A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him” (Isaiah 11: 10)
“In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
The rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.” (Isaiah 40:3-4)
“Like a shepherd he feeds his flock;
in his arms he gathers the lambs,
Carrying them in his bosom,
and leading the ewes with care.” (Isaiah 40:11)
Local Advent Activities
We are blessed in the Fall River Diocese by many events and activities which may help you and your family keep Christ at the heart of your Christmas preparations and celebrations. To learn more, visit the Fall River Diocese website; pick up a copy of our diocesan newspaper — The Anchor; or follow the diocese on social media (Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram).
My prayer this Advent is to keep our focus upon the Lord, by embracing a spirit of prayer, contemplation, and action. In doing so, the message of Jesus will be brought to life through us—by word and deed—to this world in need. During this busy time, let us slow down and listen to His voice.
May this Advent help us to open our hearts to truly welcome Christ into our hearts, homes, and world this Christmas.
May God Bless You,
Bishop da Cunha