Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Happy New Year! At least, happy new liturgical year! As always, the first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of the Church’s new liturgical cycle. The good Lord knows that we need a new beginning! Most of the Gospels for this liturgical year will come from St. Mark – Cycle B. We begin each new year not by looking back at Christ’s first coming at Christmas, but by looking forward to His glorious Second Coming. As disciples, we are to keep the future in mind as we go about the present.
While it doesn’t have the character of full-on penance like Lent does, Advent is, nevertheless, a time to reflect deeply and prepare. So, what can we do to prepare?
“As Christmas approaches, it seems that every shopping trip, every gift exchange, and every party brings us a little more stress. What if it didn’t have to be this way? Advent is a time to slow down and remember what matters most. It’s a time to prepare our homes for guests and our hearts for Jesus.” Resolve to have your Best Advent Ever. Register free at dynamiccatholic.com/best-advent-ever and receive daily inspirations right in your inbox. Each session has a different focus, speakers, videos, and challenges. So even if you have done it in the past, every time is a new and enriching experience.
Another way to prepare this Advent is through a modified version of Straw For Jesus. Usually wonderfully popular, this year makes it a challenge to do communally as a parish. Instead, each of you can do it in your home! Go ahead and set up your manger scene without the Baby Jesus. For each act of love you do during the weeks of Advent, place a piece of straw in the place where the manger will rest to make a comfortable bed for the Savior. The straw prepares the stable, and our acts of love prepare our hearts for Christ.
Common Advent traditions (do an internet search on any of these) include an Advent calendar (get a religious one!), the Jesse Tree, and the Advent wreath, which is a wreath-laying flat and adorned with four candles, three purple, and one rose, symbolizing Hope, Peace, Joy (the rose one), and Love, respectively. One candle is lighted every Sunday as the Light is coming into the world. (The rose candle is for the 3rd Sunday – Gaudete Sunday.) With no beginning or end, the circular wreath reflects the endless love that Jesus has for us.
Finally, thanks again to all who have donated to the Bicentennial Campaign. At last check we were right at $1.5 million – that’s about 87% of our goal! It’s not too late to donate and help close the gap. You can find out more and donate on our parish website.
Yours truly in Our Lord and Our Lady,
Father WilsonBACK TO LIST