November 29, 2020
First Sunday of Advent
Keeping Things Balanced
This Sunday marks the beginning of the Advent season, a season often filled with stress and anxiety, a time we ask ourselves that annual question: how do we meet the ever-increasing demands of the secular Christmas season while trying to spiritually prepare for the coming of Christ?
One response to this dilemma we often hear is a call for balance: we are told to balance our secular and faith lives. Yet when I reflect upon balance, I can’t help but picture a tightrope-walker, whose every step must be carefully measured lest he fall to his doom. This cannot be the Advent we are called to embrace.
What is the answer, then? Is this month before Christmas something to simply be endured? We are preparing to celebrate God’s incarnation as a human being! This should be a time to celebrate! As we reflect today on the Advent season, let’s throw “balance” out the window. Perhaps there is a better way to integrate the secular and the sacred.
Last week, we celebrated the feast of “Jesus Christ, King of the Universe”. Jesus is King of all: of Christmas and of Black Friday; of “Away in a Manger” and of “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. He is always King of all things.
Every moment is sacred. This doesn’t mean we have to search for the gospel in “Jingle Bells” or find a passion metaphor in the “Elf on a Shelf”. We just have to let Jesus be there with us, whether we are on our knees in prayer for repentance, or at Walmart buying that hot new video game for some child (or adult!) in our life. God doesn’t want balance: he wants all of us, all the time, in every moment of our lives. He’s not there to scold our less-than-sacred moments. He simply loves us, and wants us to share each moment of our lives with Him, whether that moment be sacred or secular.
Maybe that’s the key reflection of the day: there is no ‘secular’. There is only Christ. And if we can bring Him with us in each moment of our lives, perhaps we will find ourselves a little less anxious and more able to look at ourselves and our world as God does, with love and joy!
– Bill Merlock