In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the crowd to prepare themselves for persecution in His name. He continues: “You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.”

Yes, we can indeed see that, especially with the political climate today. Anything good or moral or that follows God’s Commandments or Church teaching causes people to immediately disregard us as “crazy” or “nuts.” Yet we know that following Christ is neither crazy nor nutty. 

Before Communion at my parish, we sing a brief but beautiful song that simply says: “Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living sanctuary for You.”

I absolutely love this song because in just its few short words, it encompasses how we should feel as we prepare ourselves to receive Christ, who is truly present—body, blood, soul, and divinity—in the Eucharist.

Yes, we must prepare ourselves. We must repent of our sins. We must make changes in our lives to live in accordance with His laws. We must make a choice to follow Christ and not the world. As He said, the world will hate us. The world will mock us. But what truly matters is our eternal life, and if we follow Him—not halfheartedly and not just on Sundays—then our reward will be great in heaven.

So let us prepare ourselves to be a sanctuary for Him. Let us open our hearts to His love and to His mercy, and let us make room for Him. 

Advent begins this weekend. It is a time of preparation for the God who gave us everything we have. It’s a time to contemplate the vulnerable infant in the manger who came as a poor child rather than as a rich king. It’s a time to make room in our hearts for our Lord who died on the cross to apologize for our sins. We didn’t deserve any of this, yet He gave us this gift freely. How will we prepare? How will we thank Him?

We begin by preparing our hearts and homes for Him. We take time every day to shut out the outside world, to increase our prayer life, to spend time together as a family talking about our Lord’s birth, to stop stressing about food, gifts, and traveling, and to just allow Christ to enter our days. We give Him our time. 

Christ’s coming is the true meaning of Christmas. His coming is the greatest gift we could have ever asked for. This Advent season and this Christmas, let us treasure this gift.

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