Over the centuries the season of Advent has become a time to reflect upon and celebrate the three comings of Christ. We remember Christ’s birth in Bethlehem more than 2000 years ago; we hope for and look to his coming at the end the world at a time known only to God; and, in between these two events, we strive to meet the Lord as he comes to us each day. Someone has described these
three comings of the Lord as his coming in history, his coming in majesty and his coming in mystery. It seems to me that the first and final comings are easy enough for us to understand. But the third form of his coming, his daily coming in mystery can be more challenging. It is a coming, however, that the Lord himself has promised. The final words that he speaks before his Ascension are these, “And behold, I am with you all days until the end of the world.” What could these words mean but that Christ will continually come to us in our daily lives. It seems to me that this coming takes at least three forms. First the Lord comes to us in the sacraments. For example, when we receive communion, it is the risen and living Lord who encounters us and deepens his life in us. When we receive the sacrament of reconciliation, it is that same Lord who, through the priest, forgives us our sins. Secondly, the Lord comes to us through his word in sacred scripture. When we hear the word proclaimed at Mass or when we sit with our bibles and meditate on his words, the
living Christ is speaking to us. Those words are valid for all times and address us in the concrete situations of our lives. Finally, the Lord comes to us through other people and the circumstances in our lives. The person who helps us with a problem, the kind word someone speaks when we need it most, the needy person who asks us for help in one way or another, all these are the result of the living Christ working in our world and our lives. During Advent this year let us pray especially for the grace not to miss Christ in these daily comings for if we see him they will bring us great joy.