Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The Virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel
Thanksgiving has come to pass and the holiday festivities have just begun. Living in a secular world it is easy to be taken away by the shopping, festivities, and decorations. Our minds create a mental list of things that need to be done and holiday sights we must see in order to prepare for the perfect Christmas. With all the holiday chaos, the season of Advent is often overlooked.
Advent is a time of preparation as we celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas as well as for his second coming. The season of Advent is a way we prepare our hearts and minds for his coming, so that our souls will be ready to receive Him when He comes again. It is a season of prayer and meditation as we allow God to fill our hearts with love and joy. We prepare ourselves through prayer, quietness, and by putting aside daily distractions. Through our preparation, we allow God to fill us with his presence.
I am completely guilty of not always acknowledging the season of Advent and constantly being carried away by the secular definition of Christmas. Leading up to this Advent season, I made the decision to fully enter in whole-heartedly, instead of being carried away through the river of chaos. To prepare my heart, I knew I would need to fast and meditate more on prayer. But my way of fasting wouldn’t be from refraining from consuming food, but from social media. I typically spend more time than I would like to admit checking my feed on Instagram and Facebook. During this time, I decided to challenge myself to only one day per week on these sites. But along with fasting from social media, I knew it would be necessary for me to spend more time in prayer. Since Advent is also known as Mary’s season, I decided to dedicate the hours I would usually spend on social media, to pray the rosary with anticipation that She would lead me to Her son. With the preparation of His coming, I want to set aside the distraction of the noise that pulls me away from him rather than closer. Serving those in need is another way we are able to see the image of Christ through those we serve. Spend time volunteering at hospitals, shelters, or wherever you may be called to serve. Parishes often have giving trees, and you are able to buy gifts for those in need. This Advent season, I want to be able to put aside the madness that could become of the secular definition of the Christmas season and truly spend time focusing on my relationship with Him as well as ways I can serve him.
As the season of Advent continues, I encourage all of you to prepare your hearts for his coming. It is easy to be carried away by the secular preparation of Christmas, but when we engage in the true meaning of the Christmas season, we are given the best gift of all. Challenge yourself to fast from something that might be a distraction from you fully entering into this season. Or even take on something that will allow you to enter in, such as praying or attending weekly mass. Memorize verses throughout this season to allow yourself to reflect on his word throughout the days. This Advent season, go against the crowd, and fully prepare your heart and soul for His coming. As you prepare your hearts, continue to give thanks to God for the precious gift of His son.