REFLECTION: Spirit of Advent PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 02 December 2011 15:10


The season of Advent is once again with us. The preparation for Christmas is now entering its final stretch. But Advent means much more than just decorating our houses and offices with the frills of December.

Advent, more than anything else, is a reminder for us all that we need to prepare for the second and final coming of Christ. It reminds us that we have to look forward to that coming, with efforts to make Christ “all in all” in us, or “everything to everyone.”

This is the more important meaning of Advent. We have to rescue this liturgical season from the dustbin of obscurity and oblivion into which many of us have thrown it. We need to remember that our life here on earth is a pilgrimage, a work in progress, whose destination and completion is Christ, the Alpha and Omega.

We have been created in his image and likeness, and with his grace made children of his, meant to participate in God’s very own life. While God created us without us—to paraphrase St. Augustine—he cannot complete that creation without us. God does not impose his love and goodness on us. We need to correspond to it too.

This religious dimension and purpose of our life needs to be re-emphasized again and again, since we tend to forget it or take it for granted. As a result, many have already developed an anti-God or anti-religion mentality, perhaps not so much out of malice as of ignorance, confusion and error.

Let’s hope the media can help in this effort to remind and clarify things in this regard. It’s understandable that they go full blast into mundane issues like politics, business, culture, etc., but they should not leave religion and faith behind.

Ignoring faith and religion invariably leads us to paths of trouble, conflicts, misunderstanding and hatred, and all forms of abuses of our freedom and rights. That’s simply because ignoring faith and religion in our earthly affairs takes away the source and purpose of freedom.

Let’s remember that freedom comes from God. We did not generate it on our own. It’s a gift, the highest gift God gives us, since it is what resembles us with him, and enables us to love and be responsible for all our actions and, in fact, for our whole life.

This freedom is shown in its best form in the life of Christ who did nothing other than to do the will of his Father, no matter what the cost. Let’s hope that this truth of our faith gets a fair hearing in us individually and collectively, especially in the media, since they are a powerful force of influence in society.

Let’s bring this truth of faith about our freedom to its practical manifestations, freeing it from a mainly theoretical understanding. In our daily concerns as well as in
the big political and socio-economic issues that confront us, we need to highlight how we ought to live our freedom well, always referring it to God.

At the moment, we find ourselves in such confusion that many of us don’t know anymore where to go. The local political squabbles, the world economic crisis, the social unrest in many parts of the world just don’t have purely political or socio-economic causes.

These causes would not be radical enough if they are not referred to how they violate the use of our freedom as given to us by God. The real germ of the problem would elude detection when the spiritual and moral roots of these causes are ignored.

The real culprit is when we misuse or abuse our freedom to do not God’s will but simply ours, in whatever level or way that will of ours can manifest itself. The real culprit is when we do our own will in opposition to God’s, cleverly using our talents, resources, and the imperfections of our political and legal systems.

In the media right now, for example, there is so much expression of nothing short than the sheer law of Talion, the eye-for-an eye type of justice, a primitive kind long considered to be inhuman. It’s amazing that this kind of mentality still prevails.

There’s quickness to get angry, to get even, to gloat at one’s misfortunes, to judge and condemn. Criminals are not anymore considered human and are therefore placed in a kind of hell here on earth.

This was never the example of Christ. He was quick to forgive and to understand. He was quick to heal. Let’s hope we truly understand the spirit of Advent!