Advent is the new season at the start of the church’s liturgical year. The church gives us the Advent season while we are preparing to celebrate Christmas so that we choose its best purpose and choose the call of our lives: to know, love and serve God in this world and to be eternally happy with him in the next one.
This Advent season will give us the opportunity to see how well we are doing with the purpose of our lives.
For instance, while we are preparing for Christmas, will we be able to simplify? And not to participate in the "run"? Will we be able to turn off some of the distractions produced by the computer and the television?
Advent calls us to be alert and to pay attention to God’s presence. You cannot do this if your attention is geared to other things or if it is consumed all the time by things of lesser importance.
Regarding prayers, what about getting up early, making a cup of coffee and sharing some time with God?
How about starting the habit of attending daily Mass? Reading at least one of the chapters in the books of the New Testament or another spiritual book every day? Pray and meditate the mysteries of the rosary, especially the Joyful ones, during Advent? Pray for people you know and those you don’t know — for the clerks when you go shopping, those driving alongside you, people in the news, our church leaders and our civic leaders … and for our enemies?
How about going to confession and asking God, through the priest, to forgive our sins? To light a candle and to sit and absorb its light, while thinking about the Lord and how he came as a small, helpless child? To make sure that the manger scenes are the center of your decorations in the house and taking time to meditate about it?
Dear friends, simplify, pray … and love.
Love! Take time for someone you have neglected. Write or call someone you have not been contacting and who does not have anyone, forgive someone and let them enter your lives again.
Give because you need to do so. Give a new possession of yours, before you have time to enjoy it, because you realized how blessed you have been and you want to share that blessing with others.
Be hospitable and loving to people you don’t know, and smile!
Offer your day for someone who is in need, even if you don’t know them.
My sisters and brothers, these are only small examples of some of the ways to respond to the Advent call to prepare for the coming of Christ to our lives.
Hopefully, we will get to know, love and serve God better in this world, and one day be forever happy with him in heaven!
Father Mugavero is pastor of Holy Apostles Parish in Rochester.