It does not escape my notice that as I type this, from the comfort of my living room [home again], all I really want to do is finish some chores, finish up stuff for heading back to work tomorrow, and then go to bed early. The theme of today’s reading at Mass, the first Sunday of Advent:
The disciples and the apostles didn’t even have Coke Zero, or readily-available 7Eleven’s full of hot coffee, with which to meet that challenge. My tendency is to be a little more, “I’ll be awake and vigilant tomorrow; just let me get some sleep first”. Perhaps a good first step, then, that I’m writing this and not waiting until tomorrow.
We heard a great homily today from a priest who happens to be involved with vocations in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. My vocation is set, but he had words of wisdom for all manner of folks. Namely… this isn’t the time to sit back, relax, and wait for Christmas to show up. If anything, that’s exactly what we’re not supposed to do. On one hand, there’s the tendency toward the: “I’m not concerning myself with all that materialistic stuff. I’ll be over here drinking my Humble coffee and munching on Self-Righteousness cookies while you go buy things” attitude. Sometimes it goes with the “I’m sure you’ll have a great Christmas what with your gifts and such. I’ll have a great Christmas because I’ll be out celebrating Jesus’ birth, you know, like you’re supposed to be doing anyway.”
Dare I say it… that is doing it wrong.
Surely you don’t have to buy gifts for others to do Christmas ‘right’.
Surely you don’t have to prepare a five-course feast to do Christmas ‘right’.
Surely, going to church and celebrating Christmas is a thing that needs be done.
But surely, if you miss out on Advent, you’re missing out on what Christmas can be.
What can you do this Advent to appreciate the wait and make useful the time we have, and therefore acknowledge that Christmas doesn’t just happen? That’s up to you to decide. I’m still considering how I’m going to approach it myself. A few thoughts came to mind, which I’ll share here – but honestly, I want to hear what you’re up to.
Do you have a tradition for Advent that helps you prepare? Are you consistent? Do you make it to December 25th thinking, “yes! finally! He is here!” or is it more of a stumble through December with a “oh, gracious, how is it the 25th already” approach? I’m the latter and I’m admitting it now, and therefore need a plan.
Some ideas that came to mind for making Advent a useful, constructive season of anticipation:
- decade of the rosary each morning, for a particular person or intention
- pray the Divine Mercy chaplet during the 3pm hour at least once during the week
- reading the Mass readings each morning [so easy with usccb.org]
- donate some of the items in my pantry to the food pantry each week
- watch a “Daily Reflections” video from USCCB – how did I not know these were a thing?! http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/index.cfm
- pray the Divine Praises before bed in thanksgiving [and finally memorize them]
- Litany of Humility [and the massive dose of conviction that comes with it]
Ideas? Share! Please!