By Deacon Mathew
In the normal sense, it would be awkward, if somebody greeted us “Happy New Year” today. Nevertheless, we do start a new Christian year this week with the season of Advent.
The different seasons remind us of the important aspects of being a Christian, one of which is the conviction that we may always begin again and start new.
So, what is Advent? Advent is a four-week spiritual preparation for celebrating Jesus’ birth. God’s promise of salvation was fulfilled in Jesus and, God in His infinite wisdom, love, and humility, became a man for our sake.
This is a great act of love and rightfully the new Liturgical year begins with Advent — the period of waiting for the birth of the savior — Christmas. In Advent, the Church gives us a lovely basis for joyous preparation: unquestionably, one day, we will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” (Lk 21:27), but meanwhile, God arrives on earth meekly as a new-born child, to the point that “Christ could be seen, wrapped in swaddling clothes, in a feeding trough” (Saint Cyril of Jerusalem).
The grace we receive through this preparation will help us to live as a child of Jesus throughout our lives. The following are few of many ways of spiritual preparation for Christmas.
- Daily Prayer
- Reading and reflecting on scripture or daily Mass readings
- Attending Mass more often and receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation
- Helping others with what we have (e.g., prayer, time, money).
All these will help us prepare and focus on God during Advent and less on the societal consumerism of Christmas. No matter what you do, remember the reason we are preparing-Jesus. Let us ask God to guide us as we anticipate the coming of His birth. He is ready to welcome us. Remember always, JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON.