We begin this season of Advent, and there are three Advents whenever we celebrate Advent that we ought to remember. The first Advent happened 2000 years ago when people had been waiting, watching, and longing for a savior. And Jesus came to us in the form of a child. The second Advent that we celebrate is the end of time. So right now, we’re supposed to be watching and preparing for the end of time. And the third is the Advent of the present moment, how God comes into our lives in the present moment.
What I’d like to talk about is the idea of watching. How do we watch for Christ? And also realizing that Christ watches us. He’s always watching us. Some of you parents and maybe even grandparents, will know about the Elf on the Shelf, what that is. I don’t have one because you can’t touch him. So, the Elf on the Shelf is this idea that came around a few years ago, but these elves are scouts. And every family adopts an elf. When they adopt the elf beginning this weekend, the elf comes to them daily and appears somewhere in their house. You don’t know where. And so, when the children wake up in the morning, they look all over the house and they watch until they find the elf on a shelf. And sometimes, the elves are very creative and playful as well. A couple of them that I’ve seen online, I’ve never actually seen one in person, but online I saw one and the elf was making snow angels in powdered sugar on the countertop. There was another one where the elf was fishing in the bathroom, the bathroom sink. And then, another one was where the group of army men, those green army men, had an elf taped up to the wall. They had him held hostage. Sometimes if somebody’s lazy, the elf ends up in the same place the next day. So, the children will be disappointed when they find the elf like that.
So, this excitement that children have of looking and watching for the Elf on the Shelf is the same excitement that we have. That every day, we should be watching, we should be watching to see how God wants to appear in our lives. We should also be aware that God is watching us. And so, the Elf on the Shelf takes reports and he takes them back to Santa. And he tells Santa what adventures the kids were on that day. And if they’ve been up to any mischief, he also tells Santa that. But God is also watching us.
Now, Israel, the Israelites realize this, and they realize that they’re not doing well. They’re sinning, and they’re straying. And so, they say to God, “Why do you let us wander from your ways? Why do you harden our hearts and not let us fear you? Return for the sake of your servants. Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down. No eye has ever heard, no ear has ever seen any God but you doing such great deeds for those who wait for him.” So, this is a season of watching and waiting. Then we hear in the Psalm, “Lord, make us turn to you, let us see your face and we shall be saved.” The Psalmist is saying, make us turn to you. We can’t even turn to you on our own. But please make us turn to you. And then we hear in Corinthians, St. Paul, “As you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of the Lord.” Irreproachable. Irreproachable means guiltless. Without accusation. Blameless. Innocent. Without disgrace, without scandal on the day of the Lord. So that’s my hope on the day that I die, or the second coming, that I’m going to be totally pure before God.
One of the greatest ways we have that ability to do is confession. And so, Advent is a season of conversion and of coming back to the Lord. If it’s been over a year since you’ve been to confession, or if it’s been many years, you can come to confession any Saturday. Or if you call the office, you can meet with me. Or if you don’t mind to meet here with the priest, go to another church and meet with the priest there. But it’s a wonderful time of returning to the Lord.
Then we hear in the gospel, Jesus said to his disciples, “Be watchful. Be alert. You do not know when the time will come. Watch, therefore, for you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming.” If God were to come right now, how would our souls be? How would we be judged? Finally, we hear “Would that you might meet us doing right.” That we were mindful of your ways. Would that you might meet us doing right?” Wouldn’t that be great if we knew that we were in a good place. There’s two times I know, that I’m like, if God were to come, (and by the way, if I die up here, let me die) one would be celebrating Mass and one would be going to confession. Those two moments, I know that I am good and whole before God.
So, during the season of Advent, Watch. Look for ways that God is working in your life. Look for ways that God is inviting you to conversion, or maybe placing people in your life to help and support you on this journey. And also realize that God is watching us. There’s no such thing as a private sin, a sin that is only between ourselves. Sin impacts everybody, whether we know it or not. But God also sees every sin. He’s watching. So maybe we do need to convert our lives. Or maybe there is some sin that we need to uproot. This wonderful season of Advent is a great time to do that. So, Watch for the Lord. Watch for His grace, and know that he is also watching you.