Anticipating with joy

The first Sunday of Advent was last Sunday and I heard an awesome homily that was meant to get us in the right mindset for the season. The priest talked about anticipation for Christmas, how we all get super excited for the presents and the time with family. He took it one step farther and said we also generally get excited when we think about the Lord coming as a baby. It’s easy to be happy and joyful when thinking of Jesus coming as a baby. But Advent is about more than just the first time that Jesus came to Earth. It’s also about preparing for when Christ comes for a second and final time. And the priest said it’s harder for us to anticipate that coming with joy. It usually sets fear and dread in people’s hearts.

The priest said Advent is about changing that fearful anticipation into joyful anticipation. The only way to do this is to prepare. That means praying, spending time with Jesus in the Eucharist, taking part in the sacrament of Confession, etc. When we are actively living our faith and constantly preparing ourselves for the coming of our Lord it is easier to anticipate with joy. It makes a ton of sense. I can recognize a difference in my perspective about eternity before and after confession. And I can personally say there is a difference between my attitude when I am praying and spending time with the Lord versus when I am not.

Advent is one of my favorite liturgical seasons. To be completely honest, I think that I probably say that about whatever season we are currently in, but that’s besides the point. This year Advent is particularly special to me because I am in a permanent Advent when it comes to my vocation. I am in a time of waiting. I have eight months until I enter the T.O.Rs and so I am perpetually waiting. But I need to be doing more than just waiting in this time. I should also be preparing.

I’ve experienced a lot of fearful anticipation up to this point when it comes to thinking about entrance. It is a scary thing that I am doing. There are a lot of unknowns and I don’t particularly feel like I am equipped to enter. While the homily was meant to get the congregation to fully participate in the season of Advent it also was the Lord speaking to me about my fear and anxiety about entrance. It should not be a scary thing, but the only way to change my fearful anticipation to waiting in joy is to prepare. That means acting and actively working toward that entrance date. For me it means speaking to my family about my vocation, sharing the news with the staff and teens at work, fundraising to pay off my loans, buying the clothes and other items I will need to take with me, and most importantly growing in prayer.

Once I prepare I will finally be able to anticipate with joy what I used to anticipate with fear. This is my goal. I’m trying to spend this Advent preparing not only for the second coming of the Lord, but also for entrance. I want to learn to anticipate with joy.

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