"And what I say to you I say to all: Watch" (Mark 13:37).
This verse is from the Gospel of Mark, one of the three synoptic Gospels. The Gospel of Mark is attributed to St. Mark the Evangelist and is believed to be the first written Gospel.
"Although he was not a direct disciple of Jesus, Saint Mark is the author of one of the four Gospel accounts and played a vital role in spreading the Gospel as a missionary in the early church," says the website for the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
The reminder to "watch" and prepare for the coming of Christ is a stark departure from the "frenzied commercialism" of the Christmas season, Grazie Pozo Christie, M.D., told Fox News Digital.
Christie is a senior fellow for The Catholic Association and host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Conversations with Consequences." She's a radiologist in the Miami area.
Rather than the "stress and headache" associated with Christmastime, "the Church proposes something very different," said Christie.
Advent, the liturgical period consisting of the four Sundays preceding Christmas Day, is "one of keen attentiveness, of being on guard," said Christie.
Ahead of Dec. 3, 2023, the first day of Advent 2023, she told Fox News Digital, "It's exactly the opposite of our secular culture’s call to distraction and inattention. There are greater things afoot during Advent than shopping and decorating, deep things of giant import and eternal consequences."
Instead of focusing on sales and presents, people should heed the message in the Gospel of Mark and "look up," said Christie.
"A battle rages around us, and woe to those who bury themselves in the Cyber Monday sales," she said.
Christmas, the first coming of Jesus, "was missed by almost everyone," said Christie.
"Humble shepherds sunk in the perfect silence of a winter meadow heard the first Noel, and wise men from afar who passionately scanned the stars for heavenly news discovered the herald comet," she noted.
Christ's return, however, will be very different.
"No one will miss the second coming, as we learn from Christ Himself. It will be prefigured by ‘days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now — and never to be equaled again,’" Christie said, quoting the Gospel of Mark.
"It is during those dark days that the Son of Man will return."
Not as before, as a defenseless babe warmed by the breath of oxen, but ‘coming in clouds with great power and glory,’" she said, again referring to the Gospel of Mark.
By this point, "it will be too late, then, for those who are scattered and inattentive, for his angels are coming with him to gather the elect," she said.
"But today it is not too late," said Christie.
"Look up from the screen and look around you — look higher," she said.
It is imperative to "pay attention so that you may hear the Good News of His coming, so that you can ready your heart to receive Him."
"Do not, for any reason, miss your chance to welcome Him," Christie advised.