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By Rev. Gilles Hache

What is the meaning of Advent? What can these four weeks change in our everyday lives and in the life of our communities?

First of all, the liturgical season of Advent, is the period that happens "before to prepare our hearts, our minds, our eyes and our ears for what must happen the coming of Emmanuel, God with us and for us. The Advent season is like going on a new adventure where we are invited to be attentive and discover where, when and how will Jesus appear on our path of waiting and hope?

Advent is not a time to be passive. This is a time when we are invited to be precursors of the Joy and Love and happiness that is coming for us. It is a period of preparation of the Heart. Just like the joyful preparation of the garlands, the tree, the nativity scene, we are invited to prepare our hearts to welcome and fully experience happiness. As the fox explains to the Little Prince: if he tames him by coming to see him every day, the fox, waiting for his visit, will discover “the price of happiness”.

Although the days are ending and we are moving into the night, the Advent season invites us to open our eyes to the light and to be perseverant and active in waiting for the Messiah. An attentive wait. Advent is therefore a time of joyful waiting, of vigilance, a waiting which is not empty, but which is centered on the person of Jesus whom we are preparing to welcome. This waiting is at the same time a time of hope, animated by a certainty: the Lord has come, he is still coming, and he will always be present in our world and in our life.

May our Advent season be for all of us a time to stay awake and to build a more fraternal society. At the heart of the simplicity of our daily life, we are invited to find appropriate moments for a personal and community prayer. Let us find the time to listen again to the whispers of the Spirit of God who comes to invite us to watch, to hope and to open our hearts to welcome him like the child who comes to us. May my prayer help me in my times of deserts, and may it help me to smooth the way for the one who comes, Emmanuel, God with us. Let us pray for the simplicity of a child's heart to let me marvel at this source of light that comes for all of us.

 “Come, Lord Jesus, come…”

Rev. Gilles Hache is an AFP Executive.