Keeping Advent

Every year it seems that the cultural observance of Christmas starts a little bit earlier. Stores are constantly seeking to lengthen the time they have to sell holiday items; this year I even saw some stores with Christmas decorations in stock before Halloween!

While this is understandable from a commercial point of view, it clashes with the Church’s observance and understanding of Advent — that time of both preparation for Christmas and anticipation for the Second Coming of Christ.

How can we keep Advent in a culture that has forgotten this important liturgical season?

  • Put up an Advent wreath in your home. Light it during meal time with your family.
  • Start each day in prayer and reflection. Many parishes provide a booklet of reflections for use during Advent; you can also purchase such booklets from a local Catholic bookstore or online Catholic supply store.
  • Utilize a site such as the University of Creighton’s “Praying Advent” page for daily prayers and audio reflections.
  • Don’t decorate your house or trim your tree until the week before Christmas and leave the decorations up throughout Christmas Time.
  • Attend the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, either at a parish reconciliation service or at your parish’s normal time.
  • Find or download an album of Advent music (yes, they do exist!) to play during the season.

For the record: This year Advent begins on November 27. The Octave of the Nativity of the Lord begins on December 25 and ends on January 1 (the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God). Christmas Time begins the evening of December 25  24 and runs until January 8 (the Epiphany of the Lord) 9 (the Baptism of the Lord).

Have a very blessed Advent season. Come, Lord Jesus!