Advent is a season of joyful anticipation of the coming of Christ, both at the end of time and, during the last two weeks of the season, for his first coming at Christmas. It is a season full of beautiful Scripture passages and such powerful Advent images as:the pregnant Blessed Mother; the lion lying down with the lamb; John the Baptist; the prophet Isaiah; and the instruments of war being changed into instruments of peace. My experience has taught me that, the more we can be attentive to our spiritual life during Advent, the more joyful will be our celebration of the Christmas Season.
There are many wonderful ways to be more attentive to our spiritual lives over the next four weeks. Those who are able may consider participating in weekday Mass and Eucharistic Adoration, grounding the season firmly in the Eucharist. Families may. find it rewarding to incorporate the Advent Wreath in their prayer life, especially at the evening meal. As this is a time to wait in silence and darkness, we may take more time for silent reflection, perhaps meditating on the scripture readings of the day. The Little Blue Books for Advent, published by the Saginaw Diocese, can help with daily reflections. There are many websites that offer daily reflections. Some of my favorites are Dynamic Catholic, Franciscan Spirituality; Ignatian Solidarity; and Hallow. We may also want to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, during this season.
Advent is a time to be more attentive to those in need, supporting our various parish outreach programs and getting more involved in service projects. Reaching out to others always helps us to grow spiritually during this season.
It is almost impossible to not get caught up in our culture’s celebration of Christmas weeks before the liturgical season begins at 4:00 PM December 24. At St. Isidore, we wait until the Christmas Season to celebrate our staff and commission Christmas socials, and to put up our Christmas decorations. We can’t all do that, but the more we are attentive to our spiritual lives during Advent, the more joyful, and less exhausting, will be our Christmas Season. I guarantee it!