Second Sunday of Advent
LK 3:1-6
December 9, 2018

I was nursing my third cup of “morning joe,” getting a very slow start to what I knew would be a very busy day. Just as I was about to get up and get moving, I glanced over at the Township Times that had been sitting on my kitchen counter all week. Glad for yet another reason not to get up, I began to page through the little local newspaper. It didn’t take me long to find another “good reason” to delay the work of the day.

Across the middle of page 2, in big, blue letters, was the invitation: “LET’S CELEBRATE WORD SEARCH.” Below the bold print were 20 rows of letters, 20 letters deep. Underneath this alphabet maze were the instructions: Find the words hidden, vertically, horizontally, diagonally, and backwards. Running down the right-hand side of the page was the list of 36 words that were camouflaged by the 400 letters, each word having to do with what is referred to as THE HOLIDAY SEASON. (That has become the politically correct way of referring to Advent and Christmas…”The Holiday Season”

Almost immediately, I spotted and circled the words: shopping, snow, friends, food, and gifts. I was hooked. I thought to myself: This is easy! I’ll just blow through this while I finish my coffee, and then I’ll get ready and get to work.

An hour later, now seriously late, there were just two words left on the list that I absolutely could not find. I was getting more and more frustrated, but I didn’t give up. And then, I looked over at the clock and realized that there was no time left. I had to get to work. So, I quickly flipped to the “solutions” section. But it still took me a few minutes to find where these two elusive words were concealed. When I finally located them, I turned back to the puzzle so that I could circle these last two words. Even though I knew exactly where to look, I still had trouble finding these two words: CELEBRATION and FAITH!

Advent is the shortest of the liturgical seasons, only four weeks long. While it is technically not like Lent, which is penitential in tone and purpose, no fasting or abstaining is required during Advent, nevertheless, it is a time to prepare. Moreover, all three Readings for this 2nd Sunday of Advent convey a sense of urgency. The Season flies by fast. There is no time to waste. And while the work is urgent and extremely important, our Readings also tell us to go about the preparations with a sense of joy!

Like the headline that caught my attention, we are preparing to CELEBRATE THE WORD. But no search is necessary. We have no need of clues. There is nothing concealed or hidden in a scramble of letters. John the Baptist brushed aside all obstacles in the way of God’s Eternal Word made Flesh. The message stands out…plain and simple and on its own for those who are wise enough to look. A SAVIOUR IS BORN, CHRIST OUR KING…WHO WILL RETURN AGAIN IN GLORY!

Our spiritual preparation to welcome Christ at Christmas, at the conclusion of our own lives, and at the end of the world, deserves our immediate attention. It should not be delayed or put off. So as we light the second of the four Advent candles, “LET’S CELEBRATE (THE) WORD….NO SEARCH REQUIRED!”