As Advent begins, so does the new Church year. It is a time of anticipation, reflection and expectation. As in the Old Testament, we are preparing for the arrival of the Messiah, not just symbolically at Christmas, but preparing for the second coming. As Christians, we are in a perpetual state of advent; we are always preparing the way of the Lord. We can live this out this Christmas season.
Wrap up unfinished business as a gift to yourself.
The Year of Mercy has ended, but the doors of confession remain open to help us reconcile anything that keeps us from being ready for the arrival of Jesus.
Reconcile if possible. The holidays are a wonderful time to put aside differences and repair relationships. Perhaps Advent offers an opportunity to catapult off feelings of good cheer and extend an olive branch to family and friends you have separated yourself from (either literally or emotionally).
Let go of anger towards yourself of others. I recently went to confession because I realized that I was sinning against myself! Someone had hurt me deeply and I forgave them quite easily; sadly, it is not a situation that can be reconciled. I had been beating myself up for not being able to solve an unsolvable problem. I had to learn to let go of the anger I was feeling towards myself for not being able to ‘fix’ everything.
When our family makes our Advent plans, we try include a family service project. Christians are the hands and feet of Christ in the world today. Reaching out to others is a good lesson to our kids and to show our Christianity to the world at large. Our deacon recently retold a story of working at a homeless shelter… another volunteer came up to him and exclaimed, “Oh, you are Catholics! I love how the Catholics are always here to help.” Service to others helps us live out the Gospel and evangelize to those around us.
My prayer for all of you, dear readers, is that you have a joy-filled Advent and a blessed Christmas! God bless.
(c) 2016 Mary Lou Rosien