For various reasons, Advent is my favorite time of the church year. Advent is the time in the church year when we prepare for Christmas and the coming of Jesus (in our past but also this present). It is a Both/And kind of thing. We are preparing to receive once again the living incarnate Christ in our midst at Christmas as well as preparing our hearts and minds for Christ to come again for real and bring the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God. Advent includes the past, the present and the future not yet here, but simultaneously already fulfilled. It is indeed a God thing in God's time.
Advent is a time of spiritual waiting with the wakening expectation of mysteriously wonderful things. These mysteriously wonderful things are Grace, Forgiveness, and Love all wrapped up in the living incarnation called Jesus, Emmanuel, God with Us in this eternal life of now.
In this Advent time, we are invited to open our hearts and minds to the presence of Christ with us here and now. We are invited to open our eyes and ears and look and listen for how Christ is at work in the world around us. If we look to see and listen to hear, you just might see and hear Jesus at work in the people around you. You just might see and hear Jesus present in feeding, clothing and healing his children in the work of the church, of family and friends and the millions of caring and loving people in the world (whether they are Christian or not).
So be prepared, Advent is here, wake up!