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Editor's note: This Advent reflection is also available in Spanish.
By Chet Jechura
“Keep awake, therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.” -Matthew 24:42
In the lectionary reading from the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus exhorts those who have gathered to hear him speak—and us today—to remain vigilant, “for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” The liturgical season of Advent invites us to do just that. It is a time deliberately set aside for us to attune ourselves to a Love that loves us from the very beginning, to a Peace that prevails even in the midst of the wildest storm, to a Joy that is at the heart of the good news of God’s saving grace, and to a Hope that anchors our soul and keeps us looking forward even in the midst of such great lament.
It was God’s eternal love for all creation that became flesh to dwell among us. That same love was expressed through the cries of a vulnerable newborn baby, Jesus the Christ. It is triumphantly expressed in Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) as a declaration against social injustice. And it is poured out for our salvation in Christ’s suffering on the cross. Love is at the heart of what we believe, who we are, and what we do. Love is what drives a parent to overcome adversity and work multiple jobs to provide for the needs of their family. Love is also what compels our advocacy to end hunger and poverty.
The season of Advent invites us to look for God at work in our lives through acts of love, both in receiving love and in sharing love. This week, I invite for you to be vigilant; seek love. In what ways can you deliberately go out of your way to love your neighbor, mend a broken relationship, take time to care for yourself in a new and meaningful way, or make someone’s day in the way only you can? Who are the people that you love in your life? Take a moment to remind them that you love them. And then take a moment to express your love to God. Remember, you are God’s beloved! It is God’s love for us that compels us to love ourselves and each other.
Every time you show up to call or email your members of Congress, sign a petition, attend an Offering of Letters workshop, celebrate Bread for the World Sunday, donate, or pray for an end to hunger and poverty, you participate in God’s saving and compassionate love and amplify its impact throughout the United States and around the world. This Advent, may your faithful advocacy to end hunger and poverty remain rooted in a love for God and neighbor that opens you up to new ways of loving and living as a light in the midst of all the darkness. Keep awake!
God of Love:
A ray of your eternal light shines even during these darkening days. May your light pierce the darkness of our hearts and illuminate the path to love that unfolds ever before us. Open our hearts to receive your love. Open our lives to extend your love. As we walk in light and love, may we remain vigilant for that unexpected hour when your Son, Jesus, comes to dwell in our midst.
Chet Jechura is audience engagement manager at Bread for the World.
The season of Advent invites us to look for God at work in our lives through acts of love, both in receiving love and in sharing love.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.
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