Isn’t it ironic that the Gospel on the first Sunday of Advent ends with the word “Watch!”? In context Jesus is telling his disciples to be watchful, be alert. “Watch, therefore; you don’t know when the lord of the house is coming… May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all (even us born 2000 years later): Watch!”
Why is this ironic? This is also the first weekend of December. The time of the year when consumerism, which is pushed all year long, hits a frenzied pace and the word “watch” means to most people watch for great deals at the store to buy for Christmas. Advertisements on TV add the requisite ribbons, falling snow, and festive jingle bell sounds as a way to differentiate the everyday marketing message to a special “the season of giving”.
Yes – we need to watch – watch for the temptations of our world and not lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas. If we aren’t watchful, the temptations of the world will take over our lives and the things of the world, especially as they are presented to us on TV, may become our primary reason Christmas is merry at all or perhaps even worse, the only thing that makes life worth living. If we are too distracted being watchful for commercials, we may forget to be on the watch for Christ’s coming to us. He does come to us every day of the year in various ways asking us to allow Him to enter our hearts.He comes to us in a very real way in three short weeks. Will we be watching, will we be alert? Will we spend more time at Mass or the mall over the Christmas season?