Let us ask ourselves as we reach the summit of our second week of preparations; are we pausing to “consider with wonder” the glorious celebrations that are about to begin? Are we rushing about as “Marthas” with our plans and schedules, or are we gathering our children as “Marys” and sitting at the feet of Our Lord as we await His Coming?! May the Lord help us to better prepare our hearts today by granting us a sense of “awe”; and may we, in response to that gift, act upon it by becoming “like children”…gaze at the lights, deeply breathe in the fresh air (especially if we live where it is cold outside!), write thoughts in a journal, listen to music of the season (O Come, Emmanuel, or People Look East…Advent music), read stories, and simply spend time meditating on the mysteries of Christ’s Coming to Earth!
D is for: Decorate with Discernment
Many people enjoy setting out their decorations early in the season.
Others choose to decorate with colors of purple and pink for now.
Still, others choose to keep things plain and unadorned until the Eve of Christmas.
It matters not so much how or when we decorate, as much as it does that we do all with the intent of embracing the spirit of the season. If we put up our tree or hang our lights now, let it become a sign of our “waiting” and not a rush to celebrate that which is yet to come. If someone comes to our house, can they tell we are “preparing” or does it appear that we are already celebrating Christmas?
Let us find balance and keep to the customs and traditions of our beautiful Liturgical calendars!
V is for: Veneration
As our families enjoy the many sights and sounds and wonders of the season, let us take time to give honor and due praise to the central characters of our Advent theme. We are blessed in spending time in meditation; pondering the Virgin Mary, most highly venerated one of all; and good, faithful, honest Joseph, her most chaste spouse; the angel Gabriel, who comes to us with a very special message from God; the shepherds, the wise men, and all who played a significant role in that very first Christmas so long ago. All of these holy men and women emulated many different virtues which can truly help us, in the here and now, to prepare our own hearts and “make straight” the way of the Lord!
E is for: Exclaim our Expectations
We are quick to wish others a very “Merry Christmas” or a “Happy New Year”, but do we stop to think to offer blessings and tidings for Advent? “Happy Advent” can become our standard greeting of the season; thus, we exclaim (and proclaim) the significance of the season and the idea that we are “in waiting”. If we entertain visitors during the weeks before Christmas, let us “exclaim our expectations” by including traditions and activities which celebrate the season: light the Advent wreath and gather in prayer, sing songs of the season around the tree, provide crafts centered on preparing our hearts for the kids who are present, make cookies that look like Advent Wreaths, etc. Let us “dare to be different” and share our True faith with those we meet!
N is for: Never cease to thank Him!
It is all too easy, in the hustle and bustle of our times, to neglect Our dear Lord and forget to thank Him for the gift of His Coming! Our God and Lord Almighty, Who humbled Himself to walk among us, His lowly and fallen creatures, deserves our gratitude and is owed our thanks. In all things, give thanks, said Saint Paul, the evangelist. As we get on that plane, or give our business presentations, as we cook dinner for a crowd, or simply sweep the floor and take out the trash; let us “never cease to thank Him” for the greatest gift of all: HIMSELF!
T is for: Timeless
The wondrous gifts and mysteries and miracles of God that we have been given do not begin or end with a season on a calendar. They are timeless, endless, designed and determined from all eternity and lasting therein. Though the hours on our clocks do pass, and the pages of our calendars turn, let us assert ourselves to “keep the spirit of the season” in our hearts all year through!
Advent means: to come to.
Let us humble ourselves, center ourselves, and give of ourselves, so that we may “come to” Christ!
Copyright 2010 Judy Dudich