Third Sunday of Advent
JN 1:6-8, 19-28
December 13, 2020
I got a new car last week. It was a bit of a surprise…although it really shouldn’t have been. The three-year lease on the vehicle I had been driving was coming to an end. Still…there was just a little more than a month left on it…so I wasn’t planning on making a change last week.
But…I am blessed to have good friends in the business…who are always keeping an eye out for me. I was alerted to a “year-end deal.” I had just enough time to shovel out all of the junk that had been accumulating in my old car over the past three years…and…within 24 hours…I was driving around in a brand new automobile.
Each and every time in the past that I’ve driven off the lot for the first time in a new car, I experienced a feeling of excitement that made me almost forget the car payment to which I’d just committed.
The smell of a new car…you can’t really describe it…but it’s hard to beat. It’s close to intoxicating. Exploring the beefed up options…getting used to the feel of the vehicle as you break it in…is empowering.
And then there are all the plans and possibilities…Who am I going to show first? Where am I going to travel to?
There is an inexplicable feeling of newfound freedom when you merge onto the expressway and put the vehicle through its paces for the first time.
What a rush!
But this time…not so much…not so much. This time…all of those “new car” feelings seemed to be missing.
So what changed?
I gave that a good deal of thought and realized that I was shocked by how quickly three years had passed.
After only three years…I felt like I was still driving a “new car.” I wasn’t ready to make a change. It was jarring for me to think about how rapidly the months had passed. That realization was coupled with a sense of lost opportunity.
For a good portion of this past year, because of the pandemic, my “old” car just sat in the garage…not moving…not going anywhere. And finally, there was the sobering thought that I have come to the age when this “new car” could well be my last…or next to last.
At this point, I would imagine that you are thinking: That boy needs an antidepressant!
Well, the fact is…these feelings and thoughts I am sharing are a way of coming to appreciate the dose of reality that the season of Advent is intended to inject into this time of spiritual preparation.
Our readings throughout Advent remind us about how fleeting time is…and…how quickly it passes…almost without notice.
Underlying this rather sobering message that we really can’t control the passage of time, is the reminder that our earthly bodies are only “on loan” to us. We don’t own them. We simply travel through our earthly lives within them. And since our use of these earthly bodies is limited…we should take full advantage of them. We should jump at every opportunity to do good, and steer clear of evil.
Throughout the Advent season, in one way or another, the scripture passages we’re given prepare us to properly celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ…to remind us of the sense of total freedom we enjoy when we travel the path we are placed on at baptism…always using the Gospel as our compass.
The Advent message is simple and clear when we take the time to really listen. If we live as children of the light, we live without fear of being surprised by “the end of our lease.”
And here’s the phenomenally good news: Arriving at our final destination, we are surprised! For those faithful to the Gospel, an eternally joyful surprise is waiting.
There are two weeks of advent left. Travel safe…travel with Christ…travel in peace! Amen.