Monday, November 28, 2011

Advent: A Time To Prepare. By. : C.C.

"Take time to be aware that in the very midst of our busy preparations for the celebration of Christ’s birth in ancient Bethlehem, Christ is reborn in the Bethlehems of our homes and daily lives. Take time, slow down, be still, and be awake to the Divine Mystery” (Fr. Edward Hays)
I feel that it is very fitting and appropriate to begin my posts this week with an Advent reflection. Amidst the chaotic commercialized Christmas messages, decorations, and outward displays of "holiday cheer" it is crucial to take things back into perspective and into the focus of what Christmas is all about...... CHRIST! It is very easy to fall into the numerous distractions that surround us each day in relation to the holiday season. However, it so important that we take this time of Advent to "keep awake" and prepare ourselves spiritually for the birth of Jesus. We must recognize the ways that we treat one another, our families, our loved ones, and most of all our relationship with God. Advent is a time to prepare our hearts, to heal wounds, and to break through walls that prevent us from loving Jesus and one another as we are called to do. As we decorate our Christmas trees, and light up our neighbourhoods let us not forget about the greatest light of all, and He who came to shatter our darkness. As we prepare externally let us also be awake to the reality within us so that we may receive Christ abundantly. I came across some writings from Father Edward Hays and I feel he does a wonderful job of expressing the importance and true meaning of the Advent season..."Advent, like its cousin Lent, is a season for prayer and reformation of our hearts. Since it comes at winter time, fire is a fitting sign to help us celebrate Advent…If Christ is to come more fully into our lives this Christmas, if God is to become really incarnate for us, then fire will have to be present in our prayer. Our worship and devotion will have to stoke the kind of fire in our souls that can truly change our hearts. Ours is a great responsibility not to waste this Advent time." (Fr. Edward Hays) Lord today I pray that you guide us through this Advent season and remind us of what is truly important. Provide the clarity to see the things within our lives, our hearts, and our souls that need to be refined. Help us to deepen our devotions to You so that we will experience Your love more fully each day. Lord heal those who are suffering in loneliness and sorrow during the holiday season. Provide the poor, sick, and desolate with comfort and warmth. Lord use us as your instruments during Advent and show us the ways that we can lead others into relationship with You and Your light. Amen (C.C.)
"The liturgy of Advent…helps us to understand fully the value and meaning of the mystery of Christmas. It is not just about commemorating the historical event, which occurred some 2,000 years ago in a little village of Judea. Instead, it is necessary to understand that the whole of our life must be an ‘advent,’ a vigilant awaiting of the final coming of Christ. To predispose our mind to welcome the Lord who, as we say in the Creed, one day will come to judge the living and the dead, we must learn to recognize him as present in the events of daily life. Therefore, Advent is, so to speak, an intense training that directs us decisively toward him who already came, who will come, and who comes continuously." (Pope John Paul II December 18th, 2002)

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