Just fifteen shopping days left!
Just fourteen sleeps left!
We are all familiar with this type of countdown but I have been wondering about a different type of countdown. How about:
Just fifteen days left to get the ‘soul weeding’ done?
Just fifteen days left to get the ‘cradle of my heart’ ready?
Just fifteen days left to have things ready for his arrival?
Oftentimes it can be said ‘How did I manage to forget the cranberry sauce?’ Or ‘What was I thinking of, no mince pies?’ Not exactly major catastrophes though much could be made of both and indeed of even smaller issues. However, might a more serious question be:
Where did Advent go? What have I done to prepare for Christmas? How is my inner world as I find myself on the threshold of yet another Christmas?
Yes the kitchen may well be freshly painted, turkey and ham sorted, new curtains, brand new candle arrangement for the table but did I take time to do a little soul work? Did I, as a pilgrim, as a follower of Jesus, avail of the great gift that Advent is?
What I am really saying, on this Second Sunday in Advent, is if we move now, quickly and decisively, we can still save it. We can still grab Advent before it disappears like Christmas snow of a rope.
Action today will help ensure that this year, just before Christmas, you do not have to use that horrible phrase ‘ I should have, or I was meaning to!’ Let’s agree now that we will not do that to ourselves. We will not miss out on Advent. Let this be our resolution. Let’s get busy with Advent, today.
So on a very basic level how might we make a good Advent?
PRAYER: not to be confused with saying prayers, though that is good as well. No I mean the silent prayer of the heart. A wordless mutual gazing. Important to keep quiet. Don’t forget he wants to talk to you.
SACRAMENTALS: I mean visuals like Advent Candle on the table lit at meals, an Advent wreath, simple and
inexpensive to make. Do not underestimate the power of the Crib. Don’t be embarrassed or shy about your faith.
PLAN: How will you celebrate the actual Birthday? I don’t mean the food, the crackers or even the crack. I mean will you take time to mark the occasion. Wish him Happy Birthday? Where will you celebrate with fellow pilgrims the mind blowing notion that God became one of us? Midnight Mass at Midnight in Matthew’s? (I am really looking forward to that).
CHARITY: Given that Christmas is about the greatest act of love imaginable, perhaps a thought how we might push the boat out a little. A pre-Christmas visit to someone who might not get many. Hats, scarves and gloves in the basket on the altar.
CONFESSION: Old fashioned I know. ‘Sure just tell God you are sorry’. Believe it or not there are special graces awaiting you in this beautiful sacrament. A few minutes in these crazy weeks to celebrate God’s mercy. So the big warning is, do not miss the great opportunity that Advent is.
The smaller warning, within the warning, goes something like this:
‘ I am a good Catholic I just don’t go to Mass’
‘Yes I’m a good Catholic but I don’t bother about Confession. I mean I don’t have any big sins and anyway God knows I am sorry.’
I think this type of thinking is very flawed. Such people are probably very good people and indeed may well be good Christians. Good Catholics? I don’t think so. Good Catholics go to Mass especially at Christmas. Good Catholics go to Confession, and what better time to go than Advent, as an act of serious preparation for the beautiful feast that is Christmas?


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