Santa Claus is coming to town, as are Snoopy, Frosty, and the Grinch. Their arrival tells us Christmas is near. But Charlie Brown doesn’t learn the true meaning of Christmas without his Scripture-quoting friend, Linus. And the Grinch can’t experience Christmas until he learns to share.
Similarly, we can't understand the real meaning of Christmas without the season of Advent.
On the First Sunday of Advent our liturgical year begins again. The season of Advent resets the clocks and calendars of Christian worship. We attend to the mystery of God's compassion and love one more time, as the liturgical seasons help us to remember and celebrate the mysteries of Christ's birth, ministry, passion, death, resurrection and ascension into Heaven.
The Advent Season has a twofold character. First, it is a time to prepare for Jesus' birth in Bethlehem: a known date for which we can prepare, when God takes on our humanity in the person of Jesus Christ, when the Word becomes Flesh so that we all can be made holy.
Advent is also a season when our minds and hearts are directed to prepare for Christ's second coming at the end of time.
So Advent is a time of watching and waiting. It is a time of preparation for the Lord's coming both in Bethlehem and when Christ will appear in glory to judge all people.
The time is now to prepare for the coming of the Lord. How can we pay attention and prepare for the Lord during this Holy Season? Here are some suggestions to make this Advent a true time of preparation:
1. Make an advent wreath at home and light one candle each week.
2. Make a shopping list of spiritual gifts you need.
3. Set aside time each day for Scripture Reading and reflection.
4. Make a weekly holy hour in a church or chapel.
5. Encourage someone else to observe Advent this year.
6. Check out your community's efforts to assist the needy.
7. Pray the rosary daily.
8. Get involved in your church parish.