Advent, 2nd Sunday (C) The prophet Baruch portrays Jerusalem as a woman mourning her exiled children. Because they were unfaithful to God they were taken into captivity. She should dress up and stand up to watch God leading her children home.

We have been led into captivity by our sins. The Enemy tricked Adam and Eve into not trusting God and not submitting themselves as humble stewards. They tried to be the masters and became slaves. The enemy is active in your life, too. He preys on your hurts and fears and offers you selfish pleasures. You try to become the master and you end up being a slave.

How many of us are already stressed about the "holiday season"? Now think back on Christmas 2020... What did you enjoy most last year? Do the things you are feeling stressed about have anything to do with the things you really love about Christmas? You see, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and new life in Christ. It should be focusing on faith, family, and friends. Yet we have been "captured" by the blinking lights and shiny toys.

What can we do to break free? First, realize that the Christmas celebration begins on Christmas Day and continues for 8, 12, and 40 days. Plan to keep at least some decorations up until February 2nd, the Feast of the Presentation. As you light the second candle on your Advent wreath, as yourself: What hurts and fears am I running from? What unsatisfying pleasures am I running towards? How have I been captured by the enemy?

(5 Dec 2021)

Going Deeper: Think about your favorite things about Christmas last year. Perhaps flip through your photo album to remember. Thank God for those blessings, and try to focus this year on the things you really enjoy.
*Prayerfully consider the hurts and fears you run from.
*What are you using to distract yourself or fill your emptiness... is it working?
*Ask for the grace to resist darkness and turn to the light.

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