Every year, before Advent begins, I have wonderful visions of peace-filled nights, the feeling of closeness with Christ, basking in the glow of a shimmering Christmas tree, slowing down the pace of a busy life as a family of five while the Christmas spirit infiltrates our hearts, and really centering myself spiritually by focusing on patiently waiting on our Lord’s birth. Yet, without fail, each year, I have to catch myself from slipping further into the abyss of rushing through my days on auto pilot just trying get all of my to do’s checked off my growing lists.
For years, I hesitated to re-start Advent … I mean Advent has a start and end day, I cannot actually re-start it, right? So, I would just try to do better each day but at times, I failed. And before you knew it, Christmas arrived and I would feel disappointed in myself knowing that I let a very holy season pass by without much focus on my personal relationship with Christ. I tried to do better but I let the disappointment grow bigger than my desire to really center myself spiritually during this Advent season.
What I really think happened, was that I had begun Advent as a false start. By this I mean, entering the season of Advent without much thought. As much as I tried and knew what I should be doing, spiritually… life seemed to get the best of me. I needed to truly rededicate and recommit myself to spending quality time with the Lord. In Advent is it so important to learn about what it means to wait patiently for our Lord. It is a perfect time of the year to seek Christ, and seek him in ways you may not have previously done so. We all do our best this time of year, I am here to remind all of us that no matter how much of your focus right now is on your relationship with Christ, start now. Do something different today to redirect you towards Christ.
We may be well into our Advent season right now, but do not say, as I did for many years, “Oh well, I guess I will do better in Lent… or next Advent! I promise I will dedicate myself to regular prayer NEXT time.” I would catch myself thinking these thoughts as if it was too late. It is NEVER too late to grow closer to Christ.
What is something, even ONE thing you can do today or tomorrow, that will further strengthen your closeness to Christ? Can you read the daily readings? Read an Advent reflection passage? Seek out a website (hmm…maybe www.catholicmom.com) that provides resources and direction for Advent reflections? Discuss Jesus’ birth story with your children as you tuck them in at night? Dedicate your morning commute to prayer? Attend daily mass? Pray the Rosary? Allot 10 minutes tomorrow morning to quietly sit with the Lord? Stop. Listen. What do you really need to spiritually center yourself this Advent?
If you find yourself in the worrying if it is too late to have a good Advent, it is never too late. If you have already experienced a false start… remember, it is never too late to dedicate yourself to seek Him, really seek Him, and patiently and purposefully wait for our Lord and Savior, this Advent.
Copyright 2016 Meg Bucaro