Layin’ Off the Snooze Bar
I can remember the advent (lower case “a”) of Digital Radio Alarm Clocks back in the early 80s and how exciting it was to receive my first one as a Christmas Gift. I would now be in control of my own waking fate, no longer subject to my parent’s door knock or the light that shined through the blinds of my bedroom window, or even my proclivity to eat watermelon before retiring the previous night.
There were many options to choose from as I recall, models available for those who listened to cassettes or 8-Track Cartridges (AM/FM was standard and always included), different sizes, shapes and colors. There was even the option to choose the color of the LED Display, and although red seemed to be the overwhelming favorite of the vast majority of my fellow slumberers, I opted for bright blue, with the turquoise lucidity providing this fairly imaginative 13 year old boy with the illusion that he was perhaps sleeping in a submarine, waking to the watery aqua glow of the numbers “6:23AM” floating in the blackened backdrop.
But the one feature I loved most was the Snooze Alarm, or the “Snooze Bar” as I came to call it due to its long rectangular shape, which of course protruded ever so slightly on the top of the clock. Ah, to pilfer an additional 9 minutes of sleep on a snowy morning, or to perhaps listen to the sports talk show my dial remained anchored upon. It was one of the true guilty pleasure of my youth, right up there with black and white cookies from the local bakery and watching professional wrestling on Saturday Night at midnight with my grandfather.
Our readings today however deliver a message that is unquestionably Snooze Bar Unfriendly. “You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep” Paul tells us in today’s 2nd Reading (Romans 13:11-14) imploring the Romans to “conduct ourselves properly,” for our salvation is nearer now than we first believed. In today’s Gospel (Matthew 24:37-44) the great prophet urges us to “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day our Lord will come.”
It’s been said that the Season of Advent requires us to focus on the “3 Ps,” those being Prayer, Penance and Preparation. Today’s readings focus heavily on Preparation and how vital it is to our Salvation. Matthew’s Gospel as a matter of fact concludes with this little mini-parable of sorts:
“Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come."
So how can we make this season of Advent one in which we prepare ourselves for the coming of our Savior? There are of course numerous ways to accomplish this, but I favor one in particular that was recently brought to my attention. Beginning today, December 1st, read the 1st Chapter in the Gospel of Luke and one chapter (sequentially) every day until Christmas Eve. In doing so, you will have read the story if Jesus’ life, death and resurrection in its entirety. Furthermore, Luke’s Gospel essentially paints a portrait of Mary, giving voice to her life. And finally, the Gospel of Luke will infiltrate you’re heart with an undying surge of hope, a prized virtue that in so many ways encompasses and personifies the Advent Season. Renowned Pastor Keith Stewart once remarked “Luke is the Magna Carta of the marginalized, describing the great reversal that is the kingdom of God … Those who have been pushed down will rise up, and those who’ve done the pushing will be brought low.”
May this Advent Season be one of great hope, joy, peace, and repentance for you and all those you love. May it be prayerful, reinvigorating and yes, may it reawaken in us our sense of urgency and ardent devotion to our Lord and Savior, he whose reign is now and to come.
Skip the snooze bar and instead let us come quickly and let us adore him unrelentingly.