Today is the first Sunday of Advent; it’s about starting on a journey, a new adventure.

It’s how we travel that’s important now, how we prepare for those we will meet at our destination.

Most of us have had the experience of absent-mindedly jumping into our car and arriving at the destination with no recollection of the journey.  That is, until you have a near miss, and then you notice everything to the point of paranoia.  Some things can become second nature to us, so that we become inoculated from reality.  We travel on autopilot.  Advent is meant to be like some great red light in your face.  You stand on the brakes and take notice.

In the midst of all the hustle and bustle of Christmas time, with the Christmas shopping, with the Christmas decorating, with the Christmas parties, and even in the midst of the liturgies, we often travel through the season of Advent without paying much attention to Him whom we are preparing to receive.

Why are we getting ready to throw this big party on 25 December? Why are we doing all this stuff?  The birth of Jesus Christ, nothing more and nothing less. With only four weeks to go, there’s time.  Maybe not for all the external things, but for what really counts – people and the person of Jesus Christ.  Time enough as well to answer the question asked of the Baptist: Who are you?  Why are you here?  What are you going to do?  Why are you travelling this road?  And who do you hope to meet at journey’s end?  Make a good start today.  Keep focus. Amen.

(Fr Niall Ahern, Daily thoughts for the Advent journey)