I don't know about you but I love to sleep.
Sleep is the doorway to the land of dreams.
I also love to daydream.
Tune everything and everyone out for a few moments.
Enter into a world conjured up by my imagination.
In that world I can be anything I want to be.
It's a place where I have all my needs met; where I'm never disappointed.
As I imagine a world as I think things should be…
I get my own way all the time.
No one there contradicts me.
Everyone understands me, respects me,
agrees with me, affirms me, accepts me, laughs at my jokes.
In my imagined world, I'm at peace.
I have no responsibilities, no pressure or stress.
I can do what I want when I want.
No one to boss me around or give me a hard time.
I'm free, rich, good looking, important, captivating in my conversation.
In my daydreams, I'm whole: not wounded or scarred.
Life is perfect, beautiful, absent of all ugliness.
I always make the right choices.
There is nothing out of place.
I escape my raw humanity: I'm not judgmental, prejudiced, jealous, or fearful.
I don't get angry at all the selfish, insensitive inconsiderate clods. (I just wish them away.)
I don't make stupid or foolish choices.
I avoid all that may do me harm.
I never succumb to temptation.
Never lonely, or empty. I never fail. I know all the answers.
In my imagined, daydream world, I'm a hero.
I have superhuman strength.
I can stand up to any threat without fear.
I fight for the underdog.
I make the winning touchdown.
I'm smarter than anyone in my class.
I ride the winning horse in the Kentucky derby.
I always defeat the bad guy, solve the problem,
make the discovery, uncover the mystery, discover the cure,
rescue the damsel in distress.
When I’m daydreaming, I enter a world of fiction…where I am God!
I create. I conjure. I control. I pull the strings.
At such a moment…when in the midst of such a world, enjoying the moment
the cruelest sound....is the sound of the telephone, or doorbell,
or the horn of the car behind me because the light has turned green
and I’m just sitting there…momentarily oblivious.
I want to stay in the land of make believe.
Life's so easy there.
To escape the reality of human weakness and sin.
To be shielded from the pain, the suffering.
To be free of the burdens of a world where evil visits even the holiest of saints.
But Jesus says, "Wake up!"
And I say, "Go away. Leave me alone for another couple of decades.
I don't want to have to face the responsibilities, the fears, the failures, the woundedness."
It's painful waking up to the real world.
Waking up means growing up.
Waking up means choosing maturity… choosing obligation and duty.
Waking up means shedding innocence and naiveté,
replacing ignorance with knowledge.
With knowledge comes understanding.
Once we take a bite out of the apple, like Adam and Eve, we become aware.
And can never go back.
Christianity is a religion of "waking up".
The goal of every disciple is to become like Jesus Christ.
To become like Jesus is to begin to see as Jesus sees.
To see as Jesus sees obligates us to act as Jesus acted.
We see and are repulsed by the tainted and obscene around us.
Jesus sees and loves.
The world of daydreams is a nice place to visit.
However, we're not meant to live our lives there.
It's our own little world. But it's a lonely planet.
In the end, if we stay in this private sanctuary,
we will be more than disappointed.
Because by shielding ourselves from the bad we also shield ourselves from the good.
By putting a blanket over our heads to hide from the problems
we also hide ourselves from possible solutions.
The greatest danger, with our eyes closed, we might miss Jesus himself.
If you or I were living in Palestine at Christ's first coming,
would we have looked for a baby wrapped in straw?
Would we have looked for him on a cross?
Our eyes need to be opened.
One of the great tragedies (a tragedy is a story with a bad ending)
One of life’s greatest tragedies
is for someone to sleepwalk through life without even knowing it:
going through the motions but never truly present,
unaware of the difference between good and evil,
unconcerned about what is truly important,
unable to recognize what is helpful and what is hurtful,
unprepared to welcome and receive the Son of God in all his glory.
Why would anyone do such a thing?
Because somehow we become convinced it's better to be asleep than awake.
Our heavy experiences, our failures, our pain, our inner conflicts, drive us to escape.
We find some benefit, some relief,
in closing our eyes and living in our imaginations.
“Wake up!” Jesus sounds the alarm.
It’s not a warning of impending peril.
But a reminder of possibility and opportunity.
The Kingdom of God is not a fantasy.
If it was, we could sleep and dream ourselves into eternity.
The Kingdom of God is a reality, God’s saving power is a reality
present in our living today, present in this celebration of Eucharist,
promised in our living tomorrow.
His Kingdom we are called to build.
Our eyes must be open if we are to see and recognize and respond.
Don't dismiss this summons to awaken.
Don't reach for the snooze button, roll over,
and fail to live life with intention and attention.
You and I, someday our eyes will be closed to this world.
Maybe today. Maybe not for a long while.
When this happens, it would be tragic indeed,
to sleep through the alarm meant to rouse us to eternal life.
At that time, we will want to hear the voice of Jesus saying:
“Wake up! Open your eyes. See the glory of the Father.
And rejoice in His presence forever!”
1st Sunday of Advent
I don't know about you but I love to sleep.