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 | By Veronica Szczygiel, Ph.D.

Let the Scriptures of Advent Light Your Way

During Advent, we undertake a spiritual journey to meet the infant Christ. Each candle on the wreath has a unique meaning that helps light our way.


First Sunday: Hope.

In today’s second reading, St. Paul writes: “our salvation is nearer now … the night is advanced, the day is at hand.” (Rom 13:11-12) No matter how bleak things seem around us, God lifts us up by promising the light of salvation. We can reflect: What are the dark places in my life where God has shone his light? What am I hopeful for?

Second Sunday: Faith.

Today’s Gospel reminds us that we will be judged, as God will “gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” (Mt 3:12) But the readings also give us a set of instructions for how to live out our faith: “Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Rom 15:7) If we truly love all people, we will be the precious wheat gathered by our God. Let’s reflect: When have I welcomed others in my life – and truly loved them? In what ways can I do this now?

Third Sunday: Joy.

God’s grace is so redemptive that even “the desert and the parched land will exult … they will bloom with abundant flowers.” (Is 35:1) God promises that the “deserts” in our lives will be filled, and this joyful promise of salvation should help us to “Be strong, fear not!” (Is 35:4) So, let us reflect: Where has God’s grace bloomed in the deserts of my life? In what ways am I afraid, and how can I use God’s promise of salvation to strengthen me?

Fourth Sunday: Peace.

God also promises us his healing peace by sending his Son into our broken world: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means, ‘God is with us.’” (Mt 1:23) In so doing, we are “called to belong to Jesus Christ … to be holy.” (Rom 1:6-7) We should feel at peace knowing God’s powerful presence among us. We should also feel encouraged to bring peace to our world, as we called to do. We can reflect: How has God brought peace into my heart? How can I bring peace to others?

We have reached the end of Advent. Let us rejoice now, for the Lord is with us!

Veronica Szczygiel, Ph.D., is the assistant director of online learning at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education

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