When I was growing up, like any youngster today, I was eager for Christmas to arrive. When it did it was exciting and lots of fun. But the next day the bottom seemed to fall out. What a letdown! Christmas was all over and the day seemed so sad. But then I grew up and I discovered Advent. And as a Religious Sister I learned a whole new way of preparing for Christmas.
The Church knows how to prepare and how to celebrate. She gives us this wonderful liturgical season of about four weeks in order to get our hearts ready for a new coming of Jesus on Christmas Day. The daily prayers at Mass which express the longing in our hearts for a deeper relationship with Jesus, the Advent hymns which enable us to give voice to our desire for the peace that only He can give – are built into this beautiful season. In our community the outward signs of our preparation are the lighting of the Advent candles, the chanting of the Divine Office each day. On December 17 we begin to pray the O Antiphons and light the window candles, one by one as they lead up to December 24. On Christmas Eve we light our Christmas tree and then we celebrate until the feast of the Baptism of Jesus in January. There is no sadness in our convent the day after Christmas! Our time of feasting has then begun!
May you too have a wonderful Advent Season. Don’t let it slip by!