First Sunday of Advent – Stay Awake!

This is such a busy time of year and as I thought about the  First Sunday of Advent, I have been thinking about preparation, not just all the things that need to be done between now and Christmas but being fully awake to the Lord.

A neighbor of mine just had heart surgery and I offered to bring her communion last Sunday.  I stopped at her house on the way home from Mass and as we said the Lord’s Prayer together, she stopped praying aloud and I realized she was crying.  I went on with the prayer but with tears caught in my throat.  When we finished the prayer, she apologized for being so emotional.  I thought about that after I left her and having had a few surgeries myself, I realized that those tears were to some degree relief that the surgery over and successful but more importantly, they were a moment when you feel closer to God than you may ordinarily. Your emotions and senses are fully awake.

Later that afternoon, I went to the organ concert at St. Andrew which was amazing.   At the end of the evening, a special award was presented to the our former music director Herb Wottle  who has spent many years of his life leading people in praise of God with his music.  Dovile, our current music director was presenting the award but had to stop because she was overwhelmed with emotion at the magnitude of this man’s energy, talent and love of God.  Once again on this day tears were caught in my throat.

Maybe that emotion and tears are needed to truly appreciate what will happen in the next four weeks.  While we are preparing by decorating, cleaning, cooking, baking, shopping, wrapping and entertaining we will no doubt be filled with emotion at times.  To me, these moments are a glimpse of God in my life.  He is with us always, not just at the final judgement and therefore; we should always be prepared and open to His touch.  As the Gospel on the First Sunday of Advent tells us; Stay awake, at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.  Mt. 24-44



It is not difficult then for me to place myself at the foot of the manger, gazing at the infant with tears caught in my throat.



Cathy O’Toole