House of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD! (Is 2:5)

Our new liturgical year begins with a mindset of awakening, harmonizing and preparing. The readings from Isaiah, St. Paul and the Gospel of Matthew open our minds and hearts as we journey through Advent with our sights fixed on the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Awakening

Despite the fact that our eyes are open, are we truly “awake?” The days are filled with details, data and duties. These can lead to productive moments and times of growth but can also be distractions from what is truly important: that being conscious to our calling as followers of Jesus. St. Paul reminds us to put on the “armor of light.” This light is the radiance of our God, shining forth for the entire world to see. It begins with the star over Bethlehem which acts as a beacon calling pilgrims to encounter the Word made flesh. Simple shepherds tending their flock experience a new awakening and encounter the infant Jesus. St. Luke writes, “Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.” Thus, we are to be awake and joyfully walk in the light of Christ.

Harmonizing

Music composition is fascinating. Composers have the privilege of formulating combinations of musical notes to produce chords with several instruments, including voices, wind, strings, flutes, percussions and electronics. This deliberate combination of instruments culminates into musical harmony. Same is true with our faith. A community of believers is comprised of millions of “instruments” of Christ. Each has a particular part to play in building a community of faith, hope and love. When out of sync, we fall “flat.” It is when our voices blend through encouragement, endurance and love that a symphony of the faithful is performed. This is peace.

Preparing

What one expects is how one prepares. Grander moments require more preparation. What is greater than preparing for Christmas? Well, Easter is the highest celebration in our church year. But without Christmas, there would be no Easter. God has prepared us for the coming of his son by inviting us into his life through the sacrament of baptism. The moment we are plunged into the waters of his graces is the moment our preparations begin. We ready ourselves each day in serving God and others by our words and actions. Our decisions determine our readiness. Are we walking the straight path? Are we showing others the way? Are we “a voice of one crying out in the desert, prepare the way of the Lord?”

DePaula is director of Evangelization and Catechesis for the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

Preparing

What one expects is how one prepares. Grander moments require more preparation. What is greater than preparing for Christmas? Well, Easter is the highest celebration in our church year. But without Christmas, there would be no Easter. God has prepared us for the coming of his son by inviting us into his life through the sacrament of baptism. The moment we are plunged into the waters of his graces is the moment our preparations begin. We ready ourselves each day in serving God and others by our words and actions. Our decisions determine our readiness. Are we walking the straight path? Are we showing others the way? Are we “a voice of one crying out in the desert, preparing the way of the Lord?”

DePaula is director of Evangelization and Catechesis for the Diocese of Baton Rouge.