As we prepare to usher in a new liturgical year, we pray that old familiar phrase…thy Kingdom come!  For those of us who live in the northern part of the country, nature itself in this transition from fall to winter is a great teacher.  Everything around us goes into a dormant phase; a time of rest.  There is less light in the day, also tending to call us to sleep a little more. 

As life subsides “below the surface” to the roots, where it remains hidden until the time to resurface, resurrect in the spring, so this Advent season calls us to return to the “roots” of our life in Christ.  It is a great season to remember the Lord’s promise to remain with us always, as well as His promise to return again at the end of time.  It is a time to prepare not only to celebrate His birth, but to pray that He strengthen His life within us, here and now…thy will be done!

Advent is a time to “retreat” from the things of this world, and refocus our attention on the “world” that is truly our “homeland”… thy Kingdom come!  Psalm 122 points us again in the right path with the refrain of this First Sunday of Advent:  I rejoiced when I heard them say let us go to the house of the Lord.  As the daylight of these winter days diminishes, we always have the Light of the Lord to guide our way. Advent calls us to stoke the flame of faith within us as well as among us.  Advent calls us to let go of our own agendas, and to desire the will of God more and more.   Thy Kingdom come…Thy will be done!

The refrain of the Advent season is a great mantra to repeat through these holy days: “Come, Lord Jesus!” 

In many ways, the Advent season continues the focus of the final weeks of the liturgical year on the fleeting nature of this world.  The most stark reminder of this truth is death itself.  Thursday, a dear old friend was taken suddenly from this world, calling to mind the words of Matthew’s Gospel for this First Sunday of Advent: Stay awake…you must be prepared…The Son of Man is coming at the time you least expect.  (Matthew 24: 44)  Advent is a season to prepare for and desire this coming of the Lord.

Charles Simon: 1957 - 2010

Charlie Simon never met a stranger, and if he did, they did not remain so for long.  He had a gift for gab like nobody else.  He loved people, loved life and had the treasure of a great family and a multitude of friends.  He lived life to the full, and brought a laugh and a smile to many people.

We will miss you, ole buddy.

Rest in Peace; the fullness of the Kingdom lies before you.