People knew over a year in advance that the Pope was coming for a visit to America and the preparations began. Security, space limitations and requirements, protocols, crowd management, itineraries, invitations, regulations, and so much more was necessary to pull this event off effectively. It’s not every day that we get a visit from such a prominent dignitary. Thought, effort, meticulous attention to detail and vision all are necessary to make this thing work. After all, he can’t just show up in the ordinary and normal daily routines of life and catch people unprepared! Tickets have to be purchased, buses rented, hotel rooms reserved, and travel arrangements made early because it will be impossible to see him if we wait too long!
We do this kind of preparing not only for prominent religious figures but for political dignitaries, notable sports figures, people of fame, and even actors. If an individual intrigues us, we are going to want to do all we have to do to get a “good seat” in the house. Does Jesus Christ captivate this much of our attention? We are asked to prepare the way of the Lord and to do so not with frantic frenzy but patient enthusiasm. We do not have to stand on a street corner making profound announcements about God’s coming or become overly zealous in our embrace of the Good News. Our task is quieter, more interior, captivating, and consuming. We are asked to change. We have to conduct our lives with holy devotion.
Is the cost of that ticket too much for you? Don’t you want the “best seat” in the house? After all, if he comes while you are going about your daily routines without you even knowing, he may catch you off guard. Or, he may come in disguise looking like a beggar, a prisoner, migrant, refugee, or someone who is lost. Would you be ready to recognize him then? Preparing for the coming of Christ requires a change of mind, heart, and behavior. It is not adequate to simply do the things we always do. We want our lives to speak of the exciting news of Christ’s coming and the joy that the Gospel brings. It has to do with our demeanor, values, priorities, choices, and how we structure daily routines. Of course, it involves sacrifice; all anticipations do! Are you excited, captivated, enthusiastic, and sitting on the edge of your seat eager to celebrate his coming among us at Christmas, and waiting for him to come again?