Advent is now upon us. What is Advent? It’s a time of waiting, a time of preparation — spiritual preparation for the anniversary of the coming of Jesus Christ. Instead of making spiritual preparations during Advent, many of us get caught up in the demands of everyday living. Any extra time that we have is spent on the material preparations that have become an annual tradition, such as buying gifts, decorating our homes and work areas, planning parties, and baking treats.
In an effort to make it easier for people to make the necessary spiritual preparations for Christmas, I’m providing a short meditation for each day of Advent. Please take the time each day to read the meditation that is set aside for that particular day. Try to incorporate the message of each meditation into your daily activities. By doing this, you will be better able to appreciate the full meaning of Advent and prepare for Christmas Day.
Sunday, December 1, 2013 – Have you set any spiritual goals for Advent? You say you don’t have time? Then how do you find the time to set and accomplish your material goals, such as buying gifts, decorating your home, planning parties, and baking treats? Take the time now to write down one spiritual goal for Advent (e.g., an extra daily prayer, a daily sacrifice, daily spiritual reading, etc.). Then make a commitment to God to accomplish your goal.
Monday, December 2, 2013 – “Thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son, Jesus.” He was there, hidden in Mary’s womb. He is here, hidden in the tabernacle of our church. Will Jesus be lonely this Christmas season? Are you willing to visit Him regularly during Advent so you can better understand the true meaning of Christmas? He is waiting. He is always there.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013 – “The angel Gabriel was sent from God, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph.” When we were conceived in our mother’s womb, God gave each of us a companion, a guardian angel, to assist us throughout our lifetime. Ask your guardian angel every day to help you understand what God’s will is for you.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013 – “I am the handmaid of the Lord.” A handmaid was a servant who was at all times subject to the master. Are you willing to be a servant to the Christ child? If you are, you must humble yourself and seek to constantly serve Him. What is the easiest way to serve God? By serving others. Will you choose to serve others this Christmas season?
Thursday, December 5, 2013 – “Be it done unto me according to thy word.” Mary was ready on a moment’s notice to do God’s will. Are you ready on a moment’s notice to do God’s will? Or are you too busy doing your own will — shopping, working, socializing, partying? Are you willing to do one thing for God each day during Advent?
Friday, December 6, 2013 – “She was found to be with child.” But what about Joseph? He was troubled and confused until an angel confirmed that the Christ child was “begotten of the Holy Spirit.” Like all of us, Joseph had his own cross to carry. When you are faced with trials and tribulations, are you willing to be patient and trust in God as Joseph did?
Saturday, December 7, 2013 – “Behold, Elizabeth thy kinswoman also has conceived a son. … Mary arose and went with haste, and saluted Elizabeth.” Mary could have stayed home. She was, after all, the mother of God; however, instead of staying home, she “went with haste” to someone who needed her help. Are you too busy this Christmas season to go with haste to someone in need? Try to help one person who is in need during this Christmas season. “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me.”
Sunday, December 8, 2013 – Have you worked toward accomplishing your spiritual goal for Advent? Is there anything else you can be doing on a spiritual level to prepare for the coming of Christ? Take the time now to write down what else you should be doing to prepare for the coming of our Lord.
Monday, December 9, 2013 – “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” Zachary doubted and was struck dumb. How often do we doubt the word of God? How often do we question our faith? Let us pray for trust and faith this Christmas season so that we are not blinded by doubt but instead enlightened by the grace of God to accept His will at all times.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 – “How have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Elizabeth knew, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, that Mary was the mother of God. She realized that God came to her through Mary. Do you realize that God comes to you through other people? Holy people? Do you realize that you have the opportunity to bring God to other people by your loving example and assistance?
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 – “He who is mighty has done great things for me.” How often do we “take credit” for something that we do? Always? We think we are great because of our abilities and achievements. When someone compliments us on something we have done, we should take the time to pray silently, He who is mighty has done great things for me. Give credit where credit is due and you will be one step closer to the true meaning of Christmas.
Thursday, December 12, 2013 – “The babe in my womb leapt for joy.” How was it that Elizabeth’s son, John the Baptist, leapt in his mother’s womb at the approach of the Christ child? Was Elizabeth’s unborn son worthy of life? Yes, he was a precious new life who was an intricate part of God’s grand design, just as every unborn life is an intricate part of God’s grand design. Are you willing to remember all the unborn children in your daily prayers during Advent? The Christ child would expect you to.
Friday, December 13, 2013 – “Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months.” All Mary needed to know was that her elderly cousin was in need of assistance and she was there to help. Are you willing to make a special effort this Christmas season to show love for an elderly person? During Advent, make an effort to visit an elderly relative or a “stranger” at a nursing home. You may see Christ in the person whom you visit.
Saturday, December 14, 2013 – “There was no room.” Now what? No room in the inn? Why is it that we always seem to have these monumental problems? Was that Mary and Joseph’s reaction? Were they faced with a “problem” or an “act of Providence”? They were faced with an act of Providence — a situation that God allowed them to go through in order to bring them closer to Him. Isn’t that what our problems are, acts of Providence that are intended by God to bring us closer to Him? Next time you have a problem, take advantage of the problem and use it as an opportunity to grow closer to God.
Sunday, December 15, 2013 – Set aside the anxieties, worries, and tensions that come along with the materialistic views of Christmas. Write down what you can do to serve the spiritual needs of your family during the next ten days.
Monday, December 16, 2013 – “She brought forth her firstborn son.” Mary and Joseph were patient and understanding with their son, Jesus. How can you be more patient, understanding, and loving with your own children during this Christmas season?
Tuesday, December 17, 2013 – “She wrapped him in swaddling clothes.” He renounced all earthly possessions from the day He was born. He could have chosen to be born in a palace with fine clothing and other earthly possessions. Instead, He came to this Earth in humility and left the Earth in humility. Would you be willing to give up your earthly possessions to follow in Christ’s footsteps? Give up one thing today that you desire to have and offer your sacrifice up as a prayer.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 – “She laid him in a manger.” Why would God preordain that His son be laid in a manger? Is there a message for us in this simple act of humility? “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” Are you meek? Are you humble of heart? Learn from the Christ child, who was willing to be placed in a manger.
Thursday, December 19, 2013 – “She laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” God can be loved anywhere — in a cave, a car, an office — anywhere. Try to make an act of love in a different place every day — in your car, in your office, in your kitchen, in the bathroom of your house. Make room for the Christ child in your heart.
Friday, December 20, 2013 – “I bring you good news! … an infant … lying in a manger.” Can you “tell a book by its cover?” What would you think if you saw a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, in a cave, surrounded by animals? Are you willing to look for Jesus in everyone you meet? Are you willing to look beyond the “cover” and accept people as they are?
Saturday, December 21, 2013 – “We have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” The three kings had everything money could buy. But they were not content. Something was missing — the Christ child. Is there something missing in your life? If so, seek out the Christ child and you will find true happiness.
Sunday, December 22, 2013 – How are you going to carry the Christmas spirit into the new year? Write down one spiritual resolution for the new year (2014). Are you willing to attend Mass more than once a week? Are you willing to pray a daily Rosary? Are you willing to make spiritual reading a part of your daily routine? Make the commitment right now by writing it down.
Monday, December 23, 2013 – “Love one another as I have loved you.” How much did Jesus Christ love you? Enough to be born in a cave. Enough to die on the cross in order to win salvation for you. Would you give up all your possessions for the one you love? Would you voluntarily submit to being nailed to a wooden cross for the one you love? “Love one another as I have loved you.”
Tuesday, December 24, 2013 – “She laid Him in a Manger.” Do you know what the definition of a “manger” is? A manger is “an eating trough” — something that animals eat out of. Do you know what “Bethlehem” means? It means “house of bread.” The Bread of Life was placed in an eating trough after being born in the house of bread. You should constantly seek to develop a deeper love for the Eucharist, which should include frequent attendance at daily Mass and participation in weekly adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013 – “And they shall call Him Emmanuel” (which means God is with us).