Suddenly, December is here, and with it the flurry of activity to get ready for Christmas. Buying gifts, putting up decorations, sending cards, baking cookies, preparing special meals?so much to prepare! It?s easy to lose sight of the fact that Advent calls us to a different kind of preparation.
Advent is about preparing one?s heart to welcome the Christ child. It?s not so much a flurry of activity; it?s a time of waiting quietly, getting ready. It?s a time of expectancy for the greatest of gifts: Jesus himself.
This season I decided to use Matthew Kelly?s Rediscover Advent as part of my morning quiet time. It?s a compact little book, with a reading and reflection for every day. So far it?s been a valuable tool to focus me in on the real meaning of the Christmas season.
Each of the four weeks has a theme: hope, peace, joy and love. These themes are drawn from the Lectionary readings for the week, and they offer a particular virtue we can adopt and begin to practice as we prepare to receive the gifts Advent has to offer us.
Each reflection closes with a couple of well-chosen questions to ponder, followed by a prayer. Here are a few of the questions I?ve been mulling over so far:
- What shortcomings in my life are preventing me from walking in the way of Christ?
- How do the superficial things in life keep me from reaching out to what will truly satisfy me?
- Is there a choice facing me that requires a deeper trust in God?
Taking time out each day to reflect and pray brings balance and serenity to what might otherwise be an overly hectic season.
What are some ways that you have found to combat the commercialism and busyness of the season so you can focus on the true gifts of Advent?
About the Author
Claudia Volkman is Director of Product Development for Servant Books, an imprint of St. Anthony Messenger Press. She and her husband, Scott, live in Connecticut, where she enjoys walking, knitting, and spending time with her Corgis.