Happy New Year! Celebrate These Days of Advent Waiting.

Advent Wreathe 2013Most of us have at least one calendar on which to keep track of our commitments. In the life of the Church, we keep time by the Scripture readings we hear proclaimed at Mass on Sundays. This cycle of readings is called the Liturgical Year. The First Sunday of Advent, which we celebrated this past Sunday, begins the liturgical year with the four Sundays before Christmas. So, Happy New Year to you!

Advent is a time of expectation, when we prepare our home and our hearts to celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day. It is a season of hope, a time to nurture peace and experience joy in anticipation for the love that is made incarnate in the birth of Christ.

We celebrate Advent not only by thanking God for Christ’s first coming as a baby in Bethlehem, but also for his presence among us today through the Holy Spirit, and in anticipation of His final coming at the end of time.

As we celebrate the days of Advent we have to admit that the pull of our secular culture and the world around us can create some tension in our lives. It is among the busiest times of the year. Christmas decorations surround us at the mall, as we drive the city streets, and in our homes. Christmas songs are playing on the radio, we could probably take in a Christmas concert weekly, and I’m sure we have all been invited to at least one “Christmas Party” that will take place before Christmas Day. Not to mention the shopping that has to be done and dealing with the weather!

In the midst of it all, Advent struggles for attention. I’m going to offer you some suggestions that I believe can help you steer your way through these days of Advent waiting. Prayerfully read them over and then add them to your own Advent customs to that list. Once you have done that, I encourage you to intentionally pick one activity that speaks to your heart and can realistically be done each day. Then, do you best to integrate it into your daily routine between now and Christmas Day.

Here are my suggestions for your consideration. Participate in daily Mass at your parish. Reflect on the daily scripture readings, which can be found at www.usccb.org. Pick up an Advent calendar and follow the suggestion for each day. At Saint John Bosco they are located at the magazine rack in the Church vestibule.  Light the candles of an Advent Wreath every evening and pray for God’s blessing on your family and friends. Go to the interactive Family Advent calendar found at the website for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-resources/advent/index.cfm, which offers daily reflections and activities. Participate in some Advent or holiday giving program. Make a Holy Hour at your parish in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Take the time to go to Confession. Pray a little more each day.

Question – What am I intentionally doing for Advent this year?

December 4th, 2013 |