December 3, 2012 by eneubauer
Recently I made a declaration to my 7 year old, “We are canceling Christmas.” Response, “Noooooooo, WE CAN’T CANCEL CHRISTMAS!” I asked, “Why not?” Response, “Because we can’t stop believing in God. Christmas is about our faith in God.” The scripture affirms, “Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise.” (Mt. 21:16 ESV) At that moment I was a very proud papa!
My children constantly remind me what the season of Advent is all about. At its root, the Advent (which comes from the Latin word adventus) means “coming” or “to come to” – Christ the Savior comes to reconcile humanity to Himself.
Within the last 24 hours we celebrated the 1st Sunday of the Advent Season and began the new liturgical year. I am so happy for this season and all that it actually represents in my life, the lives of my family members and my community. Together, we are looking forward to that day when we welcome Jesus (the infant child born in Bethlehem) into the world to reconcile humanity (you & me) to Himself – that through his grace our reconciliation means abundant life in the present and eternal life in the world to come. As a five year convert to Catholicism the excitement to celebrate the entire season is still a new adventure.
I am also reminded that this season represents so much more than the busyness of life. This season is more than Christmas parties, family gatherings, the hustle and bustle of buying gifts, and the festive redecoration of our homes. I love all these things…but
The Advent is also about our personal preparation for the Incarnation of the Christ. Therefore, history teaches that we understand the Advent season to be a time for:
- Personal (spiritual) Preparation
- Prayer, Fasting / Abstinence, Frequent Mass Attendance
- Reflection, Reconciliation, Repentance / Penance
- Charity or Almsgiving
It is also a reminder that we celebrate the three comings of our Lord:
- Past – His first coming
- Present – through the Holy Spirit
- Future – His second coming
Let me (& my daughter) encourage each of you to make this Advent season meaningful through the full embrace of its actual meaning. So often we intend Advent to be both a time to reconnect with family and remember Christ – only to allow the hectic pace of life to marginalize our “spiritual call.” We intend this season to be a time of reflection, prayer & reconciliation. We intend to slow down and enter into a time of deeper reflection, more frequent scripture reading, and self-evaluation. Inevitably, what we intended never materializes and, if we are honest, we find ourselves lodged in the mud and mire of those things which only distance us from the ONE we are intending to remember. The trappings of busyness and the allure of materialism and consumerism capture the mind and leave the soul quite empty. We forget the meaning of the season and lose a bit of ourselves in the mix.
Therefore, I encourage you (within the first 24 hours of the new liturgical year) to willfully commit to embrace the true meaning of the Advent season.
Let’s commit to follow in the footsteps of the Blessed Virgin Mary and embrace the Christ child – He is waiting!
Have a wonderful Advent Season.
The Via Advent is a wonderful devotional book that may assist you in the development of a rich Advent experience. You can find the book on Amazon or through www.shawnsmallstories.com