On November 28th we begin a new liturgical year in the Church. (This makes it a good day for a “New Year’s resolution.”) The season of Advent is our time to prepare spiritually for the great feast of Christmas. We often speak of the “spirit of Christmas,” and it is good that we identify the true spirit of the feast. But we cannot really enjoy the spirit of Christmas if we do not first have the spirit of Advent.
It is a time of preparation for Christ, longing for Christ, and identifying the parts of our own lives that are most in need of a greater presence of Christ. In a sense Advent represents life itself, since our entire earthly life is a preparation for eternal life with Christ.
There are numerous ways to make this a season of true preparation for the Lord. You might want to have an Advent wreath in your home, and light the appropriate candle(s) each evening during dinner. (I hope you eat dinner together as a family.) You might consider participating in weekday Mass on one or more days during the week. Contributions to charitable causes are particularly appropriate during this time, when the needs of the poor are most strongly felt. Also, the parish will be giving out Advent meditation books at the weekend Masses; I hope you will take one and use the book for daily reflection and prayer.
The pandemic has certainly heightened our sense of longing, our sense of needing help from above. That is good. Let’s enter into the spirit of Advent as fully as possible, so the spirit of Christmas may find its home in us.