Advent is the period of preparation for the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Christmas). From Latin adventus, it is a time of waiting. This year, the Church offers us as a theme for this preparation, “Dare to believe in it”. Indeed, we are called to the audacity to believe in the coming of Christ. Moreover, we are called to believe that the coming of Our Lord is not an idea or simply reduced to an annual celebration regarding all the publicity around Christmas.
This time of Advent is given to us as a period of questioning of what we believe in. In fact, do we believe that the coming of Christ really takes place in our daily lives, at the heart of the social disorders, economic, political, etc., that we know at this time? How to detect the warning signs of the coming of Our Lord in such a context of tribulation? Obviously, only Christian Hope can allow us to perceive the warning signs of this coming.
“Dare to believe in it” is first and foremost a personal gesture, an individual invitation from Christ to each one of us. But it is also an act that sets us in motion, decentrates us, and opens us to others. Then, Advent is also a time of preparation for the coming of Our Lord in Church, in the community, in family. But, how can we live this preparatory period “In the heart of our lives”? Our theme for Advent 2017, to prepare us for the Nativity of Christ, could be: “At the heart of our lives, dare to believe in the coming of Christ and to welcome Him”.
This is possible in a community perspective. “At the heart of our lives, dare to believe in it and to welcome Him” can only question us about our conception of the Church. In concrete terms, when we talk about the Church, is it an institution or a family of which we are active members? Do we have a sense of belonging to our local communities? Do we take the time to know and interact with other members of that same body, the same family that we belong to because of my baptism? “Since there is one bread, the multitude that we are is one body, for we all share in one bread.” (1 Cor 10:17)
“At the heart of our lives, dare to believe in it and welcome Him” is possible if we all recognize ourselves as members of a single living body in which: “if only one member suffers, all the members share his suffering; if a member is honoured, all share his joy. ” (1 Cor 12:26) Thus, together, as a family, we can hasten the coming of Our Lord Jesus who is the head of this body that we all form as members or baptized. It is as a community that we can enter Christian Hope and the expectation of Christ who comes to save the whole human race, to make the body of the Church live. May this time of preparation challenge us individually and collectively: Do we dare to believe in the coming of Christ in our personal and community lives? Dare we believe in it and welcome it?
© Leander Syrieix.
 Community life refers to our parish communities, our families, our neighborhood lives, our home groups, and so on.
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