Each year the Catholic Church gives us an incredible opportunity for a powerful encounter with Jesus. In her genius, the Church invites us during Advent to take a step back and look at who we are, what we are doing, and where Jesus fits into our lives.
Jesus came into this world at that first Christmas for you, to bring meaning and deep satisfaction into your life, to fill you with lasting joy, and ultimately to bring you to eternal happiness with him in heaven. That’s what we celebrate at Christmas. Are you ready?
The Definition of Advent
The word “advent” (the arrival of an important person or thing) is derived from the Latin word “adventus,” which means “coming.” For Catholics, Advent is the four-week season leading up to Christmas. During Advent we anticipate the coming of Jesus. It’s a time full of reflection, excitement, and hope.
When Does Advent Begin?
Advent officially begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on December 24. It marks the beginning of the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar year. This year Advent begins on Sunday, November 28. Christmas Eve is the Fourth Thursday of Advent, with Christmas falling on Friday. Four weeks isn't long, but that still leaves plenty of time to spend some quiet time preparing for Jesus’ coming. Common Advent traditions include an Advent calendar, the Advent wreath, and special Advent prayers.
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How to Prepare for Christmas
Think about it this way. We prepare for everything we consider important in life. You wouldn’t show up to play in a football game and expect to win if you had not been training. You wouldn’t show up unprepared to give a big presentation at work and expect to get the project. We don’t expect to excel in exams if we have not studied. Consider the preparation that goes into hosting a barbecue, a dinner party, or a wedding.
Now we are not talking about the typical Christmas preparations. Buying and wrapping presents. Baking cookies. Planning parties. Putting up the lights, the tree, and other decorations. We are talking about preparing you. When was the last time you prepared your heart for Jesus’ coming at Christmas?
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We prepare for everything we consider important in life. In every case preparation makes a wonderful experience possible. When was the last time you prepared your heart for Christmas?
Advent is a season of preparation. And if we want to experience the true magic and meaning of Christmas, we need to take a break from our to-do lists and get our hearts ready for Christmas.
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