Happy New Year, everyone! Even if it seems a month early, we are starting a new liturgical year with the season of Advent. This brief time allows us to look forward to the gift of Christmas: the child Jesus. One of the difficulties of this season is how short it is. We have just over a few weeks to get ready for Christmas, and then we can celebrate the season of the Lord’s birth. During this time, distractions abound. Please remember what this time is all about and what we should be focusing on: as Isaiah says “Prepare the way of the Lord.” We teach our little ones in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd that purple seasons (Advent and Lent) are about preparation. Notice that we don’t sing Christmas songs ahead of time, even though the secular world is playing them everywhere now. At church, we sing Advent songs until the evening of December 24th. This is one way we do our best to prepare now, and celebrate later.
But not all things draw us away from God. If we are prayerful, quiet, and listening, much of our daily life can help us to prepare well for Jesus’ coming; especially acts of charity to family, in conversation with friends, in our concern for the needy. Let us look for the ways God is present in daily life in order to recognize Him at Christmas.
Also, think of people you can be inviting to come and attend Christmas Mass with you. Whatever Mass you plan on attending, consider who else you know who might not have a home of worship. If they are not Catholic, let them know they are still welcome. If they decide to come, you can talk about what they might expect (if Mass is new to them). Many times people just need to be welcomed into something bigger and they are ready to at least give it a shot. If you sense resistance, ask what their concerns are, and then see if you can help them through it. But don’t be too pushy. Just a little nudge is enough, for you want to keep the possibility open for when they are ready. Perhaps the best gift you can give Jesus on Christmas is a new friend in church to pray to Him!
May God bless you and may our little flower in heaven, Saint Thérèse, continue to intercede for us all!