Advent is upon us and I have to confess that I don't even have my Advent wreath set up yet. Despite the extra week between Thanksgiving and the onset of Advent, I'm still behind. But, that's OK. I'm sure I'm not the only one. And, after all, perfection is not my goal (good thing too!)
This is the time of year when I start thinking about how to keep my and my family's focus on the real meaning of Christmas. (Guess I should have started a little earlier! hee hee) There are so many wonderful resources available for Advent. I own many of them. With all that's available, it's hard to believe that any more need to be created. Yet, each Advent season, new books, devotionals, prayers and other spiritual tools come onto the market and I find myself drawn to them.
I guess I'm always searching for a way to freshen our perspective and reinvigorate our spirits. Part of me is also hoping for one of those magical parenting moments when the whole family is engaged and focused on our faith. (Hey, it could happen!) But, sometimes all you need is a new perspective on the season to energize your observance. With that thought in mind, here are some thoughts on Advent that occurred to me last week. I hope they act as a catalyst for your own Advent celebration.
Preparing for the Birth of Our Lord is, in many ways, like planning a party with Jesus as the guest of honor. One difference is that, instead of inviting Jesus to your home, you're inviting Him into your heart and soul. So, let's plan a party for Jesus and get ready to welcome the Young Savior at Christmas.
- Set a Date-This one's easy, December 25th in case you haven't heard. It's a Tuesday this year. Mark your calendars!
- Send the Invitations-Spend time in prayer inviting Jesus into your life. Invite others in your life (family, friends, and strangers if you're so bold) to join you in welcoming Jesus. You could do this through shared devotional time, sharing an Advent resource, or inviting them to Christmas Mass with you.
- Clean House-Spend time examining your conscience and then seek out the sacrament of Reconciliation to clean your "house" before your Guest arrives.
- Prepare for the Celebration-use this time to "decorate" your soul with the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy and "cook" your guests favorite foods of love and forgiveness with a healthy helping of prayer on the side.
- Finally-Welcome the Guest and Enjoy the Celebration-Welcome Jesus into your own heart and soul. Seek His presence in others. Rejoice in the glow of your Special Guest's presence through the Eucharist.
No matter what you do this Advent, spend some time in spiritual preparation and enjoy the many Blessings of the Season.
PS Here's one of my favorite images of the Christmas season. Really puts it all in perspective, doesn't it?