Advent is one of the most important seasons in the Church. During the time of Advent we are called to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ as well as wait and watch for the Lord. This is far from an easy task as the advent season is filled with what can be distractions such as Christmas shopping, house and yard decorating, and vacation planning. These other priorities can easily distract us during advent as we prepare for the Christmas Season. However, we cannot allow secular concerns to distract us from the importance of this holy time.
The task to keep preparation and alertness of Christ on our minds during the Advent season does seem quite challenging. Thankfully, the Church and Christians throughout the centuries have provided us with tools with which to honor and make important use of the Advent Season. Tools such as Advent wreaths, music, prayer books, Advent calendars , etc. These tools are important for us to use so that we might be able to focus out energies on the true purpose of Advent.
Some tips and methods for preparing for the Advent Season:
- Listen to ADVENT Music: Take note that I'm not saying listen to Christmas music. Be mindful that there is a DIFFERENCE between the two that is worth noting. Advent Music typically calls us to slow down the business of the Advent season in order that we might reflect on what the coming of the Lord means for out lives. Furthermore, the music brings to mind that the Advent season is at the beginning of the Church Calender for a reason people! During this time we have new beginnings and a new chance to focus and start the year loving God.
- Keep Decorations Simple: This piece of advice can be found on almost any tips for Advent article and therefore there is probably some validity to it. Many times we get carried away with Christmas decorations that absorb our time and don't actually reflect Christ which is the whole point of Christmas. Our decorations can easily stray into animals and lights everywhere which isn't exactly what Christ meant by be the Light of the World.
- The importance of the Nativity: For myself nothing is more important than having a nativity set in a prominent location in the house. The nativity is my constant reminder of what is soon to come and I can't help but say a quick prayer when I see it. Some families have their kids place a piece of straw around Jesus for every good deed they do during the Advent season as a special gift to Jesus.
- Advent Prayers and Journals: Spiritual Journal writing in general is a great habit to develop but it is especially appropriate during the Advent season. In this season we are welcoming Christ into our homes and more importantly into our hearts. In order to better accomplish that we need to pray and write to Him. During Advent, maybe you can write “letters” to Jesus in a spiritual journal and have your children write Jesus a letter as well of thanksgiving for the past year, of adoration to Jesus, and hope for the coming year. You could help them with this of course and they may come to really enjoy writing the letter and reading the old one from a year ago.
These are just a few ideas that you can implement into your life during this Advent season to make it all the more fruitful. God Bless you and may Christ find you ready for the Himself.
Copyright 2011 Kathleen Wellman
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