We have finally entered the Season of Advent. After weeks and months of Ordinary time, the Church now prepares with great hope and anticipation for the coming of Jesus Christ. It’s the beginning of the new liturgical year (since 900’s AD) and it starts off with a great celebration in a four weeks, but before Jesus can come to us, we must prepare our hearts and our “homes” for him properly.
In so many parts of world, Christmas is already occurring (in some places people have been on the Christmas bandwagon since early October). However, this is a disservice to our relationship with Christ during this time of preparation known as Advent. Before we can properly receive Our Lord at His Birth, we must prepare for His arrival in a timely manner and with the Church in mind. As Catholics, we must be counter-cultural. The Catholic Church stands against the cultural just as Our Lord was counter-cultural during his three years preparing for the Cross. Many of our viewpoints, especially the social and moral viewpoints, are in complete contradiction to the post-Christian secular atheistic system that seems to be alive today. Preparing during this time is an act of being counter-cultural.
During the next FOUR weeks, let us take the TIME to prepare properly for Our Lord’s coming and not get caught up in the secular idea of Christmas. Secular Christmas is about making money, not about Jesus Christ. I understand that many people do have to “prepare” for Christmas to some extent if they have families and small children, but don’t get carried away and always remember that Advent helps us to have a more complete Christmas experience.
After December 25, we get to sing Christmas songs for 12 days during the Christmas season. I have always found it ironic that most radio stations play Christmas tunes from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day. On December 26, the songs are gone and they are back to their regular genre. However, the Christmas season has just begun! We don’t celebrate the spring season till March 21 (dates vary from year to year, date reflects Northern Hemisphere) and then move into the summer season. March 21 is the START of the spring season and it goes till summer begins. Why do we “celebrate” Christmas till December 25 and then move out of the season?? December 25 is the BEGINNING of the Christmas Season – not the END!
As Catholics, it is our duty to be obedient to the Church and her traditions. We must learn to follow the liturgical year properly. The Church has been doing such things for 2000 years – I think she has it figured out by now, even if the secular society suggests otherwise.
Here is a great video from Busted Halo on Advent to share with your family and friends –
To Prepare or Not to Prepare – That is the Question. Below are some helpful ways to prepare for Advent –
Spiritual Resolutions for the New Liturgical Year
Practice your Faith by…
- Praying more during the next four weeks
- Reciting simple prayer – morning and evening prayer [use Magnificat or Liturgy of the Hours]
- Attending daily mass at your parish
- Listening to great sacred music – Advent at Ephesus by Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles
- Praying the Rosary or Chaplet of Divine Mercy
- Spending time before and after Sunday Mass in prayer
- Visiting Jesus in Adoration once a week during the next four weeks
- Participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If you have not been to Confession in some time…then get there!
- Reading the Holy Scriptures and Catechism of the Catholic Church
- Reading Spiritual books – the Pope’s new book on the Infancy Narratives is a good read during Advent.
- Reconciling with people in your life that have either hurt you or you hurt them.
- Attending an Advent Parish Mission at your parish or parish nearby.