One of the most wonderful gifts of Catholicism is our Liturgical Calendar. The Church gives us a heads up in regards to our two biggest feast days with the seasons of Lent and Advent.
While Advent is about half the length of Lent, it is an opportune time to prepare ourselves for the celebration of our God becoming man through the birth of our Lord.
Many have experienced or witnessed the preparation it takes for the arrival of a new baby. Rooms are painted and decorated, furniture is purchased, and decisions are made to prepare for the new baby.
Anxious parents often read up on the latest parenting advice and tend to watch other parents a little more closely. All this is done, hopefully, to provide the best home possible for the newborn and a smooth transition for the growing family.
Advent should be the same type of anticipatory experience. It’s a time for us to prepare for what, or rather, WHO is to come.
Is our home a place that Christ is welcome or is it like the inn and too full of holiday stuff? Are we more comfortable talking about Santa and elves than Jesus? Many of us agree on the “reason for the season,” but do our actions and our words reflect that?
Just as babies are anticipated and longed for during pregnancy, we should be anticipating and longing for Christ more and more as his birth draws near.
I recently saw a sign on a baby carrier that read, “Please wash your hands before touching mine.” It was important to this parent to protect her child from unclean hands that might be carrying germs.
In the same way we should also prepare ourselves to come in contact with the Christ child through the cleansing of Reconciliation. Many parishes are offering communal services with an opportunity for a private confession. Advent is a wonderful time to take advantage of this Sacrament.
Lure of busyness
One of the evil one’s most subtle ways of working his way in between us and Jesus is by keeping us busy and our lives filled with noise. This time of year we are especially at risk of getting caught up in his lies of more, more, more. We have to be intentional about making time for silence so that we can hear the Lord’s call to be closer to Him.
In the same way, we have to be careful about our choices in regards to the time and energy we put into Christmas. Advent is a time to slow down and reevaluate the state of our souls, not a time to be skipped over in order to get right to the big day. Just as babies are anticipated and longed for during pregnancy, we should be anticipating and longing for Christ more and more as his birth draws near.
An Advent prayer
This Advent, instead of worrying about the perfect gifts to wrap, let us wrap ourselves in the light of Christ and shine for others to see Him.
Instead of feasting, let us take time to fast and go without so that we can give more to those in need and grow in patience and fortitude.
Instead of another holiday party, let us spend an evening in prayer and thanksgiving with our family.
Instead of a constant stream of holiday music, let us spend time in quiet, adoring our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
Instead of building kids’ anticipation for Santa, let us teach them the true meaning of Christmas while reading the Nativity story from the Gospels.
Instead of stressing, worrying, and being constantly on the go during this Advent, let us slow down and preserve the quiet while anticipating our Saviour’s birth.
(Maria Campbell, Baptism Prep Facilitator, All Saints Parish)