Perhaps you are thinking about the secular world and what preparations are taking place there right now. Yes, we are preparing for “the holidays,” buying gifts, setting up a Christmas tree, decorating inside and out, thinking about the menu for the Christmas meal, sending out Christmas cards, thinking about what relatives are coming to our house and when or about what relatives’ houses we will visit and when. What else is there? I think you probably see what I am getting at … the real meaning of Christmas and the preparations for that.
So, back to Advent. I’m sure you understand this “real meaning.” We celebrate birthdays nonstop throughout the year. Facebook reminds us daily what friends have birthdays that day and gives us a convenient way to wish them a happy birthday. But in this living, breathing, holy season in the Church, the birthday of the God-man takes center stage, so much so that we have a four-week period of preparation. So what does the Catholic Church say that we should be doing during these four weeks? We should be ramp up our psyche, our spiritual lives, our religious devotions, so that we see clearly what is really occurring on December 25. We will celebrate the birth of this divine person that has saved mankind for all eternity from all the sinfulness since the beginning of the human race … a most momentous, major event in human history.
Some suggestions: 1) the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As a Catholic, when was the last time you went to Confession? If it has been years, or even just months, now would be an excellent time. 2) Attend Holy Mass. If you’ve been missing Sunday Mass, please renew your faith and come to Mass. If you’ve been attending Sunday Mass, you can ramp up your spiritual life by attending weekday Masses. Attend Mass tomorrow, December 8. It is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a Holyday. The Church says you commit a mortal sin if you don’t attend Mass on this day. Besides, the Eucharist awaits. 3) Increase your prayer life. Pray the rosary a few times, daily would be good. 4) Pay attention to the poor in your community. Increase your contributions to charitable causes. Better yet, help them by physically going to the local food bank or to your local church to help with what is going on there in terms of the poor. 5) Place a nativity scene in your yard, or, at the very least, in your home, as a constant reminder of what is coming. 6) Read and meditate on Scripture passages relating to the holy birth. I’m sure you can think of many other things. You will feel much better about yourself on Christmas morning!
The best of luck with your preparations and have a blessed Advent Season!