My long-time friend, Fr. Michael Alello, included this in his bulletin reflection for his parish on the First Sunday of Advent. I thought it was worth sharing!
Every year, the Christmas music and decorations seem to go up even sooner than the previous year. By the time Christmas arrives, most people find themselves exhausted and ready to move on: pull down the tree, take down the decorations and clean the house! How quickly we forget that the season of Advent arrives before Christmas! Advent isn’t a time of shopping, stressing, buying, baking, parties, dinners, santa, eggnog or cookies, rather, it’s a time for expectant waiting, hopeful anticipation and joyful preparation for God breaking into our lives. Advent isn’t Lent; it’s not a time of repentance. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin words, ad-venio or adventus, which both signify a coming. These four weeks are meant to prepare us for CHRISTmas, the coming of our Savior, into our homes and lives.I wonder how these next four weeks might be different for you and your family this year? What if you spend some of your time preparing your hearts and homes to receive our Savior, instead of constant preparation for numerous relatives and a visit from the guy in the red suit? Our Church offers two wonderful opportunities for families to gather in prayer and reflection each day of the Advent season. Advent wreathes and calendars have been a part of our Catholic identity for the longest time and help us refocus. Do you have a wreath that holds a place of prominence in your house? Perhaps you have an Advent calendar that helps you begin each day with a new surprise? Both Advent wreath and calendar help ground us in the real “reason for the season,” yet I know we can often find ourselves forgetting to light those candles or open those doors. It’s my prayer for you, that this year may be a real time of preparation in your homes. I hope you ready your home and your heart to welcome the most important guest of all time, Emmanuel!
Thanks, Michael, for another thoughtful reflection!