Advent – is your go-bag ready


I’ve just turned 70! Thursday 26th October 2023 to be exact.

As if in a state of disbelief, I told everyone of this milestone stopping short in asking for a gift – as someone suggested!

I have a broken handled mug by the kitchen landline that holds biro’s, pencils etc that reads: – life begins at 40.

I have another broken-handled mug by the landline extension that reads 50 years – bigger and better.

Thank goodness no one bought me a 70th mug since I don’t need reminding that the years are ticking by!

Like reaching significant life stages, Advent sends us deep within our soul to look at our lives more critically. To wonder deeply the purpose and meaning of my life and where I’m going.

These 40 days point way beyond planning for Christmas Day and Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, to bringing us to His coming again.

No use guessing when this will happen, because Jesus didn’t give us that information, just that we need to be found primed.

“He will come like a burglar in the night”, Jesus says in Matthew 24:43-44, “because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect”.

The fact of the matter is, if we did know an intruder was preying our neighbourhood, we certainly wouldn’t leave the front door wide open or the security latches on the windows unhinged.

This scripture alerts us to attend to those areas of the self that need integration so we are found ready with no regrets to welcome Jesus.

Let’s use this time to our advantage and to revive our awareness that in actual fact, God hasn’t only come into the world, but my life as well. Waiting doesn’t have to be a waste of time.

What does that mean to me? What does that look like for you?

Perhaps we need to stop edging God out of our lives by our obsession for self-determination, or finally deal with issues that we’ve swept under the carpet, or open a genuine pathway to restore a fractured friendship, or confront another where you are being disrespected or a relationship that needs to become honest.

James 5:8 encourages us not to lose heart and to be patient.

He uses the beautiful natural image of the farmer.

Think of the farmer; how patiently he waits for the precious fruit of the ground until it has had the autumn rains and the spring rains.

Christmas is more than God becoming a baby boy.

But the paradox is that in rejoicing in His birth, we know that in the prime of His life, Jesus will agonizingly die from His barbaric injuries, and rise again opening the door of eternal life.

But Jesus’ entry into human history in that barn and that He would suffer greatly, wasn’t a complete surprise.

In the first book of the Bible, we’re told when first man and woman were evicted from the Garden of Eden, God’s unfolding plan of redemption got underway.

That original intimate relationship between God and we, God’s people was to be restored in the promise of the Saviour Jesus.

In the last sentence in the last book of the Bible we read “I shall indeed be with you soon. Come, Lord Jesus.”

As New Testament people waiting for Jesus to come again – or as Jesuit priest and theologian Karl Rahner suggests “that the world will come to Jesus rather than Jesus to the world” – we can rightly identify with that exact same pining experienced by the Old Testament people, when they waited seemingly forever, for the coming of Emmanual.

The lyrics of Prepare a way for the Lord by Michael Herry fms is a song that can be sung by all peoples and at all times.

So listen again to the voice heard within,
to the challenging call of your God!
Turn away from sin and renew your lives,
through the saving power of Christ – the power of Christ.


  • Sue Seconi is a writer and a parishioner from the Catholic Parish of Whanganui – te Parihi katorika ki Whanganui.
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