Well, we are officially entering into the busiest month of the year: December. Department stores have been advertising Christmas deals since Halloween, and The Hallmark Channel has already begun their countdown to Christmas. It seems as if the whole world is preparing for this universal holiday. However, so much of this season gets lost in the material world. You see, Christmas isn’t about gifts, or food, or even friends and family. Christmas is about Christ coming to this world. This act of love is the cornerstone of the Catholic faith. Alongside Easter, Christmas is so significant that we even have a special liturgical season to prepare His arrival. As Catholics, we call this period of preparation and anticipation Advent. Celebrating Advent and truly entering into a spirit of honor and hope is a great way for us all to grow closer to Christ and ready ourselves for the wonderful season and holiday that is Christmas! Keep reading to learn more about 5 things you should do during advent.
Get an Advent Wreath
While a seemingly minor gesture, displaying an Advent wreath serves as a visual reminder of the preparatory season. By lighting the candles each week and reflecting on their specific meanings, you can better focus your prayers and intentions to enter more fully into praise and worship. Even more so, fire is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. By lighting your Advent Wreath candles you are inviting the Holy Spirit into your life, allowing Him to work through you and offer you even more blessings!
We all know Christmas as a holiday of giving. Be it with friends, family, or coworkers, there is a natural expectation to give and receive gifts around the holidays. While there’s no specific attribution to this custom, this “giving tradition” is actually in honor of Jesus Christ Himself. Since He lives in all of us, we are taught to see Christ in each other—which is why we exchange gifts for His birthday! However, we are not called to see Christ in only our friends and family, we are called to see Christ in every single person we encounter. This means being charitable and giving to those less fortunate. Whether it’s donating clothes, volunteering at the soup kitchen, or donating your time at a local nursing home, try and find a way to give back.
Start a daily devotional
Advent is a great time to pick up a new spiritual habit. You can use these four weeks as a time to grow Closer to Christ by reading His Word and familiarizing yourself with scripture. Whether it’s doing the daily Mass readings or finding a special Advent-themed devotional, reading scripture each day will help you enter into the anticipatory spirit!
Go to confession
When we have a guest over to our house, it’s customary to clean and make ready everything right? So why not do the same to get ready for the arrival of Christ? Sin dirties our souls; it weighs us down and makes us spiritually “unclean.” By going to confession and offering your sins up to the Lord, you are preparing your spiritual home for His arrival. By preparing your soul you can enter more fully into the hopeful, joyful, and faithful spirit of Christmas! Find out when your local parish offers Confessions—you won’t regret it.
Spend time with Christ
The most important thing you can do this Advent season is to spend time with Christ. He is the true reason we celebrate this holiday! As you reflect back on the past year, thank God for the blessings. Talk to Him about any heartache you experienced, or any challenges you faced. Share with Him your favorite memories and then be still and listen to Him speak to you. What is He asking you to do in your life? Where will this next year take you? These questions can only be answered by spending quality time with Christ. By taking this time of Advent to grow closer to Him, you can enter the Christmas holiday and New Year reinvigorated and renewed!
Post written by Katie Karpinski