Happy Advent and Happy Church New Year! What a joyous, peace-filled, waiting time! Our children are waiting with such anticipation. Can it really be 27 days until Christmas? There are so many fabulous activities and reflections to do during this season, and the Catholic Church is so generous in giving us these four weeks in which to prepare not only for the coming of the Infant Jesus at Christmas but for the Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ on the Last Day.
I am hoping, during Advent, to post many of my favorite prayers, devotions, and reflections for this time of year. For several years, I hosted a weekly women's prayer group in my home during Advent to enable us to stop and focus on the spiritual aspects of this season and not get overwhelmed by the secular celebrations and family traditions. So, first of all, here is one thing I will do.
For years, I have used some simple little daily reflections for Advent that I found in an old issue of Catholic Update here titled "Advent: Waiting in Joyful Hope." I highly suggest you click on over every day and read the short (3-5 sentences) reflections to help you prepare your heart for the coming of Christ. Each day I will post the link to this page to remind you to read today's reflection. So, if you subscribe to me in an RSS feed or Google Reader or similar way, you will have a daily reminder to pause for five minutes and reflect on Advent. (Note that the Scripture included with the reflections are not the daily readings but provide an additional way to meditate on the meaning of each reflection.)
Additionally, every few days I will post or link to one of the prayers or readings that we used in those Advent women's prayer groups several years ago. My hope is that these little moments of prayer will enable our Advent season to be truly a time of patient waiting and not frenzied anxiety. Please feel free to send me your favorite meditations for this season, as well, and perhaps I'll include some of those!
Finally, as the children and I discover or rediscover some special story or activity, I want to share those with you, as well. I cannot promise how regular this will be, but I have just picked up a ton of new Advent and Christmas books from the library to enjoy these four weeks. So, I hope to post those titles that particularly touch us and encourage you to share them with your families.
On a personal note, I finally went to Confession and took that baby step. The grace from that sacrament has already filled me with such a great desire for prayer that I am excited about renewing my relationship with my friend and Savior, Jesus Christ this Advent season. I am also focusing my children's catechesis this month on becoming more intimately familiar with Jesus, hoping they, too, will befriend him more deeply. Thank you for your prayers for me!
May God bless you in your active waiting, as you prepare your hearts and homes and families for the coming of Jesus, the light in our darkness, the companion on our journeys.