Journeying Through These Advent Days.

our-lady-of-graceMost 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 – and since 1970 it has followed a three-year plan to allow a fuller selection of readings from the Bible. During Year A the gospel readings are from Matthew, for Year B from Mark and Year C from Luke.

The First Sunday of Advent, which we celebrated this past Sunday, begins the liturgical year with the four Sundays before Christmas – and our gospel readings will be from Luke since we in Year C of the three-year plan. So, Happy New Year to you!

Advent is a time of expectation, when we prepare our homes 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 of the love of God that takes on flesh 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 time 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; as well as hoping and praying that the snow will stay away so that it doesn’t become another reality we have to handle!

In the midst of it all, Advent struggles for our attention. Here are some suggestions that I believe can help you on your journey through these days of Advent waiting. Participate in daily Mass at your parish. Reflect on the daily scripture readings. Pick up an Advent calendar, at Saint John Bosco they are located at the magazine rack in the Church vestibule, and follow the suggestion for each day. Light the candles of an Advent Wreath every evening and pray for God’s blessing on your family and friends. Go to the interactive Advent calendar of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops or the Virtual Advent calendar from Saint Albert the Great Parish in North Royalton, both offer daily reflections and activities. Participate in some Advent or Christmas holiday giving program. Make a Holy Hour at your parish in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Take the time to go to Confession before Christmas Eve. Pray a little more each day. You might even consider some of the “Family Advent Ideas” suggested by Greg Wunderle on the Catholic Exchange.

Now, having read my suggestions; add them to your own list of Advent customs. Once you have done that, I encourage you to look that list over again and intentionally pick at least one or two activities that speak to your heart and can realistically be done each day. Then, do you best to integrate both of them into your daily routine between now and Christmas Day. If you do, I can assure you that you will celebrate these Advent days of waiting with a little more peace and a little more joy!

Coming next week – “The Jubilee Year of Mercy!”

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

December 2nd, 2015 |