Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Preparing for Advent

Below is my Bulletin Article for this upcoming weekend, I thought it might be good for you to have a sneak peak:

My favorite liturgical season of the year is upon us, the season of Advent. This season is a season of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. So, how can a season of waiting be my favorite? The is because it is an opportunity for all of us to get rid of some distractions in our life, while we prepare for the coming of Christ.
We all want to have God as the center of our life, but so often other distractions can come up, especially now with shopping to get done, and parties to attend. With all of the activities that this busy season brings, our relationship with God is often compromised. However, during Advent we are asked to re-examine our relationship with God, and truly prepare for His coming.
Just like the season of Lent, the season of Advent is penitential in nature, which means that Advent too is a time of fasting and penance. So, maybe we should all give something up this year for Advent. Giving  something up does not prove to God that we love him, but rather when we give something up what it should do is call to mind that God is with us, and that it is him that we are preparing for.  Also, when we give up things, it hopefully will teach us that the only thing that we really need in our life is God, and that he has to be what we desire the most.
About a month ago I asked some parishioners some of the ways that they are able to make God their main desire in the midst of all the distractions in their life and here are some of the responses:
  • Spending time on Sunday morning doing a Bible Study.
  • Spending 30 minutes a day in prayer which includes reading the daily readings, and trying to go to daily Mass when possible.
  • A student here at Epiphany told me that she and her mom either turn the radio off or listen to religious music when they are in the car together.
I would like to add a few of my own, especially for the season of Advent:
  • Pray together as a family. Don’t only do this before you eat, but spend some time every day during Advent praying together.
  • Find an opportunity to volunteer in some way this Advent season. There are many opportunities here at Epiphany, but there are other places that need help as well. Maybe, the volunteering is just helping your neighbor with something. We know that when we do this it is not just our neighbor that we are serving, but that we are serving Christ as well, because Christ is in each and every one of us.
  • Go to confession. If we truly want to be prepared for the coming of Christ, then we need to make sure that we are free of anything that might be blocking us from the love of God. Of course this is something that should be done not only in Advent or in Lent, but if we have committed a grave sin then we are called to confess it to God.
All of these recommendations should not only be done in Advent, but at all times, because we know that we are always waiting for the coming of the Lord. However, in order to do them at all times, we need to start doing them, and what better time than this season of waiting and preparation for the Lord.
Let us take advantage of Advent this year, so that we can truly be ready for the coming of the Lord. Please know of my prayers for you. My prayer for you this Advent season is that you will be able to clear your heart of all distractions and make way for the coming of the Lord.
In Christ,
Fr. Alex B. Carlson 

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