As I drive through the area, it is not hard to see: people are already anticipating Christmas. Decorations are already up, and the stores are going wild. The Turkey from Thanksgiving didn’t even get a chance to go cold this year before the Christmas bonanza began. This isn’t surprising, considering some of the dark news: threats from North Korea and the seemingly endless stream of sexual harrassment suits.
People want the joy of Christmas. Yet do they (you?) realize there is a whole liturgical season to truly prepare? Not only do we remember the birth of our Lord, but we are preparing for the second encounter with Christ. In the meantime, we prepare to meet Him…right in our lives today.
This is the time of Advent, coming from the Latin “Adventus”–the arrival. We should be close to our Blessed Mother as she too prepared her heart and home for the arrival of her beloved child–Jesus Christ, the true Messiah. It is a good time for some silent prayer and living devotion to our Blessed Mother–praying the Rosary and Angelus with extra fervor, for example.
The Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent, from Mark gives us a good indication of what we are to do (Mark 13:33-37). Hint: pay attention to the last word….
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man traveling abroad.
He leaves home and places his servants in charge,
each with his own work,
and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,
whether in the evening, or at midnight,
or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!'”
What does the Catechism say?
When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming.200 By celebrating the precursor’s birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”201 (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 524)
Jimmy Akin has composed a good article, “10 Things You Need to Know about Advent”
Here is some good spiritual reading: “Advent: Preparing for the Lord’s Coming”
Here, while you enjoy a nice cup of coffee, is a little collection of some Advent hymns. (I am not a musician, but I am doing my best!)