Yesterday was the beginning of Advent. It’s a time when we prepare for Christmas. The birth of Jesus Christ our Lord.
So much of our preparations have lost the meaning for celebrating. Decorating, baking, shopping, partying…the list goes on and on. But do we stop and think about the why? Over the years Christmas has taken on a very secular meaning and so has Advent.
Advent is a time to prepare spiritually for the miracle of Christ’s birth. A time to cleanse our spirit in readiness to receive the New Born King. A time of introspection. A time to be prayerful. A time to be penitent. A time to be joyful in anticipation.
There is nothing wrong with the shopping or decorating or baking in preparation for celebrating, but without spiritual preparation too, we lose so much of the joy of Advent.
I always love when Advent arrives. It means that Christmas is just a month away. When I was a child we had an Advent Wreath. We used it in the beginning, but as the season wore on it was forgotten. I guess that’s the price you pay when both parents work. Too much to do in too short of time.
Again, when I married and started my family I had an Advent Wreath. I was in nursing school at the time. After nursing school I began working nights so the practice of lighting the Advent Wreath fell by the way side. Actually, when my children completed 8th grade CCD, I let my faith go by the wayside too. Something I am not proud of.
So this year I treated myself to an Advent Wreath and I am so excited to begin the practice of lighting it at supper time. I had to research the prayers and blessing for it. I was surprised that now a Christ candle has been incorporated into the practice. On Christmas a white center candle is lit. Often a white pillar candle is just added in the center of the wreath, so no new wreath is necessary. As I think about this I see that it is a very appropriate option and one I may include in my new tradition. I have three grandchildren who live close by. I am anxious to teach them about Advent and the importance of the season.
Daily Reflections for Advent & Christmas by Bishop Robert F. Morneau, is a wonderful little annual book that my parish distributes to us. It contains what Scripture versus for each day as well as reflection on them and a concluding prayer. I got mine last night after Mass. I really like how Bishop Morneau uses down to earth reflections bringing God’s word into today’s life. If you have an opportunity to get one, you won’t be disappointed.
I am hoping that during the Advent and Christmas seasons, I will come to better terms with my husband’s death and the consequences he left behind. I miss him and I pray he is with the Lord.
Happy Advent & God Bless!