Advent is "this insistent call to watchfulness, to be ready to welcome the Lord. It is a time of waiting and interior preparation for our meeting with the Lord" (Bl. John Paul II).
In today's opening prayer (now called the "collect"), Advent is described a bit differently: not as a season, but as the definitive coming of Christ. "May the splendor of your glory dawn in our hearts, we pray...that...we may be shown to be children of light by the advent of your Only Begotten Son, who lives and reigns..."
This is an advent that accomplishes something. It is a coming that, in a certain sense, imposes itself as that coming at Bethlehem did not.
It is a coming that summons, judges, winnows, silences, reveals, proves, defends, vindicates, rewards, sets right.
If, as the Gospel says, "Elijah has already come (in John the Baptist) but they did not recognize him," there will be no such lack of recognition at this Coming. It will be the fulfillment of Mary's Magnificat; the answer to every prayer in its essence; the fulfillment of all the promises and of every hope: "He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the starving with good things and sent the rich away empty."
At this mid-point of the season, is this what our Advent is like?