The liturgical year of the Church has always been link to the natural cycle of the world around us. As we begin the season of Advent the day are growing progressively shorter moving us toward the shortest day of the year. As the world around us grows darker we light candles and the gospel today gives us one command: watch.
The command that ends chapter 13 of Mark's gospel, gregoreite, refers to more than physical sight. It is related to that process we go through when we first wake up of gathering our faculties. Most of us have at some point had the experience of waking up in a hotel and for a second not knowing where we were.
Mark is suggesting that we may be walking through life thinking we are awake, but not. We begins the new year with the command to wake up and take a good look at ourselves and the world around us and ourselves. It is not enough to see it, we must watch, 360 degree awareness of our surroundings.
What are we to be looking for? The signs of the coming of the kingdom of God. Even as each day grows shorter and the night grows longer, we are surrounded by the signs of the coming and the presence of the kingdom of God.
As we start this season of advent I would encourage you to make a list. At the end of each day or during the course of the day write down those things which are signs of God's presence in your life, signs of the kingdom. This year there are 25 days of Advent. At the end of Advent how long will your list be. I bet come Christmas Eve you will be amazed, if you will just watch.