It is Advent. All our answers remain fragmentary. The first thing we have to accept is, ever and again, this reality of an enduring Advent. If we do that, we shall begin to realize that the borderline between “before Christ” and “after Christ” does not run through historical time, in an outward sense, and cannot be drawn on any map; it runs through our own hearts. Insofar as we are living on a basis of selfishness, of egoism, then even today we are “before Christ”. But in this time of Advent, let us ask the Lord to grant that we may live less and less “before Christ”, and certainly not “after Christ”, but truly with Christ and in Christ: with Him who is indeed, Christ yesterday, today, and forever.
– What it Means to Be a Christian, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI