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Advent is my favorite time of year

I like Advent. It is my favorite of all the Church’s cycle of seasons. Its four weeks are a breath of fresh air in the midst of the busy-ness of this time of year. Advent reminds me that even with reconciliation services, Christmas parties, pageants and the hectic preparations for Christmas, we still need to be quiet and reflective. In the midst of the everyday happenings of my life as pastor of a growing parish there is indisputable need to take time to be quiet.

What’s the purpose of all this quiet? To put it simply, I think Advent is a wonderful gift of time – four weeks – to draw near to the Lord. In setting aside some of the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reflecting on the cool stillness that we find in the world at this time of year, I believe the Church’s seasonal wisdom affords us four weeks of daily opportunities to become more aware of Christ’s daily coming into our lives. We take this time to draw near to the Lord, who seeks opportunities to draw near to his people.

Advent is also a time rich in traditions. Perhaps you have an Advent wreath in a place of prominence in your home. Near it might also be found a family manger setting or crèche. Gathering to light the candles of the Advent wreath and pray in the presence of a visible reminder of the Christ-child’s coming in the flesh is a perfect time to enjoy the reflective peace and quiet of this holy season. Sister Ann Shields has some wonderful ideas of how we might deepen our Advent prayer this year in Spiritual Fitness.

A renewed awareness of the Christ-child’s coming in the Christmas event of the Incarnation is one goal of our Advent journey. Bishop Boyea reminds us that making a daily gift of oneself to Christ is a powerful way that we can share in the mystery of the Incarnation.

Although Advent this year is a full four weeks in duration, it will pass quickly. We should not miss the opportunities it affords us for additional time for prayer and reflection. I pray that each of us may have a peace-filled Advent and a blessed Christmas!  And so, our journey in FAITH continues.