|The season of Advent approaches and, with it, a period of joyous anticipation for the birth of Jesus. Our faith is centered around Jesus: our model for living, our teacher, our Lord. His words and actions compel us to love like him, to embody the Beatitudes, and to seek communion with him and with one another.
It is often that I reflect on what it means to be Christian – to act in a Christian way. Love, kindness, community, patience, and similar words come to mind as characteristics of this way of living (and standards of which I repeatedly fall short). Important as these indeed are when it comes to putting our faith into action, our justification for this way of living does not, as Christians, rest on the foundation of general goodwill. Is it good to do these things? Yes! But why? Beyond “Because these are good ways to act” what is the reason for our striving to act in this way, as Christians?
Our answer lies in today’s psalm: Give glory and eternal praise to him! (Daniel 3). How timely a message as we enter the season of Advent! We are called to glorify and praise God; to worship God. This requires a consciousness of the transcendent, an eternal realm that ensures, as Jesus, himself, says: my words will not pass away (Lk 21:33). Those present at the nativity had such an awareness.
This advent, take the time to visit your parish’s nativity scene – or display one in your home. I hope that when the shepherds went on their way and when the three wise men departed, they acted with love and justice. We are called to do so as caring for one another is caring for God (Mt 25:40). But here, in this scene, we see reverence to Jesus, whom we worship. In all we do, let us give glory and eternal praise to him.