Commentary on the Gospel of
Advent for me has always meant waiting and anticipation. Of course, when I was younger, the waiting was all mixed up with giddy anticipation for Christmas. My anticipation for both Advent and Christmas is more measured now, but I love this time to take a breath and prepare, knowing that I am never quite ready.
Because even though we are waiting and anticipating, are we ever quite ready? In the first reading from Malachi, the Lord says he is sending a messenger but “suddenly, there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek.” Suddenly, which to me means maybe not when I expect the Lord or when I am fully prepared. God knows we are human and frail and will stray from what we know we should be doing. He sends prophets as reminders, to tell us to be ready. We need those reminders and the entreaty in the psalm that asks: “Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths.” Help me to remember those paths.
In the Gospel, Elizabeth gives birth, a birth that was unexpected because she was past child-bearing age. Then she and her husband offer an unexpected name with an unexpected result. We have to remember to trust in God and to be ready whenever God calls upon us. Perhaps it won’t be what we expect. We need to prepare, to be ready. We can do that by opening our hearts to God, to be ready for life’s joys and sorrows. We know God will be with us. We have to learn to trust that God’s will might be revealed in unexpected ways. The path might not be straight. It might not be easy, but the path is there for us, waiting.