A renewed dedication to Advent

| Kate Soucheray | December 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

We are thoroughly into the season of Advent and we may not have taken out the Advent candles, the blue cloths or the Advent calendar. Instead, we might have gotten so caught up in our list of to-dos and already feel so overwhelmed by the needs of this brief time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, that we have not acknowledged this short-lived season of preparation for the coming of Christ in our hearts.

Nevertheless, we can pause today, reconnect with the purpose of the season and get on track.

Begin today to take a breath, and know you will get everything done that you expect or need to complete in the days ahead — or you can let it go and know it was not as important as it seemed to be.

One day at the beginning of a new school year when I was teaching middle school and high school religion, I said to another religion teacher: “I have all the time I need to get everything done I have to get done.” We looked at each other after I said that and we both just laughed, as if in disbelief, because we both knew that I could not pull all-nighters in the days before my students arrived.

However, if we could embrace this attitude during this season and give ourselves permission to let go of the unimportant things and do only the essentials, we would likely feel more relaxed and content today, as well as the day we set the table and welcome our guests.

Take a moment to look at your favorite Catholic websites and find out what they provide regarding daily Advent prayers and reflections. Print out the instructions they offer and begin today to integrate the suggestions into your daily routine, as well as that of your family members.

If a guide asks you to light a candle, just catch up to where we are in the liturgical season and let go of any guilt or shame elicited by busyness and distraction.

ACTION CHALLENGETake time today to dedicate yourself to acknowledging the season of Advent. Bring out the candles, use the Advent calendar, lay out the blue cloths and enter into the holiness of the season.

Catch up with your Advent calendar and open the little boxes or doors, consume the chocolate or read the prayers, and then try to stay connected each day throughout the remainder of the season.

Take out your blue cloths, which were initially intended to signify hopefulness, and set them on your table or wherever they will be seen and revered for the remainder of the season. Allow this reminder to help you pause each day to recognize the holiness and hopefulness they are intended to elicit.

Advent is a short, all-too busy season that seems to catch most of us by surprise, and we are often ill-prepared to enter into the sacredness it intends to bring out in us. It is our moment in the year when we have the opportunity to intentionally pause to acknowledge the coming of Christ in our hearts. We joyfully prepare for his arrival as an infant into our lives, bringing forth a freshness, a responsiveness of humility from us that inspires and enriches our spiritual journey, one of trust in the mystery of God’s presence. The season of Advent is a time of preparation for his coming, and our willingness to offer ourselves humbly to his extension of love and compassion has the opportunity to alter and enhance the entire upcoming year.

He does not want us to focus on that future, but only the present, because our response to his invitation to acknowledge and celebrate Advent is our preparation to humbly welcome him into our hearts and allow him to transform us, the decisions we make and the clarity with which we approach difficult decisions.

Our willingness to be transformed through his humility is the great mystery of our faith. There is nothing we can do to create this moment of holiness because that moment is created through his grace. Our gift to him is our willingness to humbly receive the gift he offers and be present in return to him.

If we are too overwhelmed by the busyness of the season, the greatest gift of the season may remain unopened.

Soucheray is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a member of Guardian Angels in Oakdale. She holds a master’s degree in theology from The St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity in St. Paul and a doctorate in educational leadership from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota.

 

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Category: Simple Holiness