It's that wonderful time of the year again and while most people automatically think Christmas i'm actually talking about Advent. We live in a busy, money driven world, a world that has taken a Holiday that is all about the Birth of our Savior and made it about presents, shopping, black deals, eating a lot, Music etc. Now i'm not saying all of this is bad, but we are missing the point. The Church sees the importance of this day, so much so that we dedicate 4 weeks to prepare. I've noticed that we begin to celebrate the commercialized meaning of Christmas earlier and earlier each year, people are putting up their Christmas decorations way before Thanksgiving and are ready to celebrate. If we really think about it the Christmas season liturgically speaking is from - the Baptism of the Lord ( this year, ). So why does the Church have 4 weeks of preparation, didn't Christ already come? What is the point...
The Season of Advent is meant to be a time to remember the past, live in the present and prepare for the future. It's a time to meditate on the nativity story, and i'm not just speaking about reading the story as if it were any other but to truly bring it to prayer. To ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to see the story in a whole new light. To think about God sending his only son for our salvation, to think about the humility, the love, the sacrifice that is the God of the universe becoming one of us! What beauty! What Love! It's also a time for us to live this season in the present. The Church has two seasons that are meant to be a time of waiting, preparation and sacrifice. The color of purple signifies penance, yet it seems we forget about all of this during Advent and just attribute it to Lent. This is supposed to be a time for us to prepare for the coming of our Lord. So that Jesus may be born in our Hearts in a new way! This can be different each year, but we must stop and think about the conditions of our heart. Is it ready for the Savior of the world to be born in? Is is clean, do you have a beautiful manger, is it filled with love? Or is it filled with garbage, with darkness from sin, with hatred, regret, attachment to the things of this world etc. This is your time to make a change. To get rid of our stony hearts and ask God for a heart of Flesh so that the Lord may make us anew (Ezekiel 36). That this Season of Advent may be different, that we may not get caught up in the craziness of this world but fix our gaze upon the Lord's and ask our blessed Mother to help us prepare our hearts as she did. That we may give our Fiat (Yes) to the Lord so that his will may be done in our lives and not our own will. I challenge you to go deeper this season, maybe we can give something up as we do for Lent to help us detach from the world. Or we can add some prayer time, or go serve the poor, feed the homeless etc. Let's take action so that our Lord may be born in our hearts and we may be transformed. Lastly Advent is a time to prepare for the future, for the second coming of the Lord. For we don't know the time of date but we can choose to always be ready!
I pray for you and your families to dive in, I challenge you once more to pray as a family together. Maybe get your own advent wreath or Jesse Tree. Attend Adoration together, This at Divine Mercy LIfe Teen will be having a night of Praise and Worship and Adoration from . This can be a great way to go deeper. I pray that we may all stop and remember what this season is all about and that our Savior may be born in your hearts in a new way each and every day but especially this Christmas!
In His Name,
Ryan began using his gifts for the church shortly after high school starting with music ministry at his parish and then on to campus ministry at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has since also served as a parish youth minister and Coordinator of Adolescent Formation. Ryan shares the good news of the gospel hoping to compassionately inspire a response to Jesus’ invitation to follow Him and "become fishers of men." Ryan currently serves as full time Youth Minister here at Divine Mercy Parish.