"Did I succeed in making Advent prayerful?" by Pam Spano (CatholicMom.com) Copyright 2016 Pam Spano. All rights reserved.

In this whirlwind time of Advent, my own mind is cluttered with the preparations for Christmas. I take inventory of the gifts, review music for Mass for our choir and steal a few moments of reflection to keep my mind on what the season is about.

It's not easy for me. The excitement and distraction of the gift-buying and gift-giving has always been a problem for me. I grew up not believing in Santa and getting my gift on Christmas Eve or even long before the holiday. Christmas had become boring growing up. When I converted and had my own children, the season became magical and spiritual all at the same time.

Every year I promise myself I'll slow down and take each day of Advent into prayerful consideration. Sometimes, it works and sometimes I go back to my old ways. Sometimes I overwhelm myself with things to read and then I give up and go back to focusing on the material aspects of the season.

This whole year, Mary has been close to me in my life. Sometimes she hovered in the background, but most times she has been front and center. I was taken by surprise by her constant intercession.

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Today, three days before Christmas, I reflect on my own history. Did I succeed in making Advent prayerful? Did I succeed in focusing on what truly matters on Christmas? As the year comes to a close, perhaps my New Year's resolutions will reflect how successful my Advent was.

Looking back, how successful would you say your Advent was?

Copyright 2016 Pam Spano