In Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge meets the ghosts of Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas future. Christmas (and Advent) is a journey for us too as we recall Christ who was, Christ who is, and Christ who will be. With Christmas we mark the historical birth of Christ. But we are also called to prepare to take Christ into our hearts and lives so that he is present today. Doing so then prepares us for the end times when we will see Christ at God’s right hand.
Today’s Gospel reminds us to be vigilant. We don’t know when the end time will come. We must change our ways now to welcome Christ so that we’re ready for those end times. The second reading reminds us to put on Christ and to conduct ourselves properly.
But it is the first reading that really strikes me. One doesn’t just turn a sword into a plowshare or a spear into pruning hooks. It takes active involvement of parties coming together, laying differences aside. As for climbing the mountain of the Lord, mountain climbing isn’t easy. One is usually dependent on others. If we want the same thing as others - to reach the other side - we must do it together or at least acknowledge that there might be more than one path, and that neither is wrong. In doing so, we can realize the Kindom of God on the other side, but here on earth as well.