Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Today is the first day of the new Liturgical Year as well as the first Sunday of Advent. Today we begin our watch. Today we begin to prepare for the birth of our Lord.

The days are short and dark now and for those who live in the northern part of the country they are cold. There’s a beautiful purposefulness in this. The darkness we experience is a reminder of the darkness in the world before Christ was born. The prophet Jeremiah writes during the time the people of Israel and Judah were exiled. The tribes were scattered throughout Babylon and Assyria, taken from their homeland, living with strangers in a strange land. The times were dark and they were far from God. 

But Jeremiah writes with hope. He tells of God fulfilling his promise to the houses of Israel to save them. Jeremiah is prophesying the coming of Jesus, the one who will rescue them from the darkness. They were in a period of waiting just as we too enter a period of waiting during these dark months. 

It can’t be a coincidence that the shortest day of the year – December 21 – is just four days before the birth of Christ, our light. The days will be getting longer as we celebrate his birth. We remember that Jesus came so that we may live. He brought light to the world. 

So we begin this time with a spirit of watchfulness as Jesus commands in the Gospel. He is referring to end times but the attitude required of us is the same. We are reminded that this world is fleeting. This time on earth may be dark. It may have trials and it may be frustrating, but it isn’t permanent. 

Jesus is coming to save us and in the end we can be with him in heaven where the light of God will envelop us in pure love and joy. 

Keep watch this Advent. Start this new year watching and waiting for our Lord and believing in Jeremiah’s words that he is coming to lead us out of the darkness and into the light of his – and our- Father. 

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Merridith Frediani loves words and is delighted by good sentences. She also loves Lake Michigan, dahlias, the first sip of hot coffee in the morning, millennials, and playing Sheepshead with her husband and three kids. She writes for Catholic Mom, Diocesan.com, and her local Catholic Herald. Her first book Draw Close to Jesus: A Woman’s Guide to Adoration is available at Our Sunday Visitor and Amazon. You can learn more at merridithfrediani.com.

Feature Image Credit: Engin Akyurt, https://pixabay.com/photos/fire-flame-in-the-dark-burn-yellow-2373327/