Jesus said to his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his own work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch. Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”
Notice how our Gospel reading from this past Sunday for the First Sunday in Advent isn't telling us to rejoice yet, but instead, Jesus tells us, "Be watchful! Be alert! For you do not know when the time will come... May He not come suddenly and find you sleeping" (Mk 13:33,36). While Advent invites us to remember our Lord's birth - His coming to us in His incarnation, it also instructs us to anticipate and prepare for His second coming - His coming to us in glory. This season calls to our mind how unprepared the world was when He first came and how we must prepare ourselves for His return.
As the world hastens to keep busy in materialistic preparations, Jesus invites us to hasten to prepare ourselves with a heart that's ready and waiting for Him. That our Lord might "meet us doing right, mindful of Him in all our ways" (Is. 64:4). Advent is a time for us to reflect upon where we may have become drowsy and inattentive in our relationship with God, to repent and return to the Lord with hearts prepared anew for Him. How may the Lord be inviting you to prepare your heart for Him in this first week of Advent?