Focus in Advent
One of the more difficult tasks we face on a daily basis is focusing on who we are and what we are doing. During Advent, while we await the renewal of our faith in Jesus, our ability to focus is challenged more than any other time of the year. We are distracted by year-end duties at work; we are thinking of taxes and other money matters.
As we think about all society calls us to do, we lose focus as to what we really must do. We must take time from each day to reach our inner persona, the one that belongs to God. If we are trying to live a life faithful to what Jesus taught us, we have to put all mundane chores aside and meditate; focus on who we are and what our spiritual relationship to all aspects of God truly is.
Over millennia ago, God gave us Peace on Earth; we immediately lost it. We are overly primed by society’s rules to prepare for battle, be it war, or conflicts at work, or in the family. It does not have to be this way. When Jesus offers peace, he is referring to eternal peace, peace in our relationship with God, ourselves, and our neighbors. When Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is with you,” he is assuring us that God is with us, no matter where we are, or what we are doing. Perhaps if we put our unnecessary conflicts behind us, focus on the fact that God promises Heaven on Earth for all, not just us, we will be able to truly enjoy and be enriched by this Advent season.
Since this is the season for giving, we have to determine what we must give. I always find it difficult to find the correct gift, when I possess the best gift of all: Love. This takes focus; this take intent; this takes nerve. If we are truly interested in giving a gift that will last, that means the most to its recipients, then Love is the answer. We must focus on why we are giving this gift, realizing that our intent is to improve the eternal lives of our loved ones.
Our gift need not be something of monetary value. Instead of a gift card, or an ugly sweater, or a Christmas tie, our gift should be something that we know will be truly appreciated and accepted by those to whom we give. For example, before my sister died, we exchanged gifts of donations to our favorite charities. By doing things as these, we give Love to our loved ones and Love to those we do not know.
By God’s Grace, we are here; we are here together, needing to boost each other when needed. When we give of ourselves, and not some trinket of marginal monetary value, we spread the Joy of God to all. Our gift creates ripples, ripples that can spread throughout humanity.