Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The holy season of Advent is a time of preparation for the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. From the Latin “ad venire,” meaning “to come to,” the entire season is a reminder that Jesus comes to us, his beloved people. He comes, by the standards and logic of the world, in an unexpected way, in an unexpected place, in an unexpected time. And yet the fact of his Incarnation and Nativity radically impacts the history of the world to this day. How can we, in our modern context, prepare to welcome this unexpected King? How can we enter into the mystery of Jesus Christ, the one who comes to us?
First, we must remind ourselves that it is not yet Christmas. All our preparations—decorating, shopping, cooking, card-sending, party-planning, baking, cleaning, Elf-on-the-Shelf-seeking—must be placed in the context of preparation for prayerfully celebrating the most important event in all human history. As we go out into the vast sea of Christmas mania, let us remind ourselves that we do so for the honor and glory of Jesus Christ. If our efforts in the Advent season are not for His glory, it would be good for us to change course! If we are so caught up in the material aspect of Christmas that we forget to prepare our hearts and homes to welcome Christ anew, we would do well to hit pause and recommit ourselves to Advent.
Second, we need to reflect on our lives and ask if we have room in our hearts for the Christ Child. Have we prepared a place for Him? Or are we focused on other things that lead us away, or distract our attention? Do our lives reflect the priority of Christ, or has something else taken His place? A few simple, practical suggestions. If you don’t already, carve out a few minutes each day for prayer. Five or ten minutes. Be deliberate, be disciplined—make time to pray each day (and as a family, whenever possible!) Are you active on social media? How much of your newsfeed is political articles or videos that essentially feed into an underlying idolatry of political figures? Challenge: when next you want to share a political item on social media, don’t do it. Instead, find a biography of a saint and share that instead. Share something that reminds people to give glory to God, rather than to a political movement, agenda, or leader.
Third, we need to do the most important spiritual preparation there is. We need to clean the house of our souls. Go to confession. The sacrament is offered here at St. Pius every Wednesday evening from 7PM-8PM in the Chapel, and every Saturday from 4PM- 4:45PM in the Church. You’ll also find the sacrament of confession offered at Assumption Church on Stratfield Road on Tuesdays from 7PM– 8:30PM. Prepare your heart by turning away from sin—and then you will truly present to the Christ Child a worthy welcome, a beautiful home.
With prayers for a fruitful season of preparation for the coming of the Lord,