Advent, the 4 weeks (approximately) of spiritual preparation before Christmas is such a neglected season of the year. It sneaks up on you, hiding amidst the turkey and pie, while you watch the neighbors put up their Christmas tree indecently early.
Each year everyone is always worried about the so-called “Black Friday” and “good deals.” We rush around thinking about sales, picture taking, baking, parties, and planning vacations. This year, everyone just seems worried – about jobs, empty bank accounts, those rotten politicians ruining the country… but few seem aware of the small, quiet whisper of a child coming. Grace coming expectantly. The King to literally grace us with his presence.
So, here is a reminder. STOP!!! Take the time to plan, of course, but also turn off the music, try to be silent, light a candle, set the bible on the dining room table. Actually schedule Advent time into your daily planner, and wait. Wait for the Child to be born in your heart.
Advent can be detailed or simple. Jesse Trees, O Antiphons, Advent wreaths, etc. But it can also be just the lighting of a candle and a quiet time of prayer in your heart and those of your family.
If you would like to have some more information about Advent and how to celebrate it, here are a few resources for you during the “Little Lent:”
Catholic Culture has a great deal of good information in their Advent Resources.
Well-known author Amy Welborn has given us a generous gift. Her husband, Michael Dubruiel, passed away in February, 2009 but was working on a book of Advent Meditations. She finished editing the book and is giving it away as an e-book in multiple formats. You can find it here. Thank you so much Amy.
The US Catholic Bishops have created a site, the USCCB Site for Advent & Christmas Seasons including meditations, calendars, prayers and more.
Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio has some wonderful downloads and information from the Church Fathers at his Crossroads Initiative Advent & Christmas Resources section.
You may also be interested in Advent: Awaiting God’s Justice by Pope Benedict XVI
May your Advent be a fruitful and beautiful time for you and your family this year.