Over the past few weeks, miles and miles of strings of Christmas lights have been carefully hung from roof tops, windows, doorways, and front yard trees. It’s great fun to put up our Christmas trees and decorate them with ornaments, place a wreath on our front door, poinsettias on the table, stockings on the fireplace and all sorts of other decorations, along with sending Christmas cards and buying gifts.
Advent means anticipation, and getting our house ready is part of the anticipation, the excitement of December. It says, this period of time is different. We highlight it, we proclaim it, we celebrate it. All the decorations announce, this is a special time, something special is coming…or Someone special!
But if that’s where the preparation ends, it’s empty. Ignoring our soul while decorating our home is meaningless.
Advent – and Christmas – are superficial and meaningless if we only work on how things look on the outside. Mature spirituality surely includes wanting more for Christmas than the bright lights, parties, and gifts.
Years ago the tree, special dinner dishes, and a ton of lights were so important to me. After I started to grasp a little more about life, the nativity became the first and most important Christmas ‘decoration.’Getting Rid of the Mess…Spiritual Preparation
This morning at Mass, the sermon reminded parishioners about going beyond the surface this Advent, “getting rid of the mess of our life.” Everyone has something can focus on eliminating in preparation for Christ to come into our lives again. It’s like cleaning our soul.
Maybe it’s been harder for Christ to find room in our heart because of that mess…whether it’s a relationship mess, a sin we commit over and over, some anger or hostility, the mess of a lack of forgiveness. We can use the peaceful anticipation of Advent to work at and pray for elimination of the mess, conquering it, and submitting it to Christ for his healing. We can ask him this Advent to replace the mess of our lives with Him, and His will, coming to us in Jesus Christ this Christmas.
The Church knows the best ways to tell Christ we are seeking Him, and we want Him to take over our lives. The Sacraments keep us connected to Christ and help us keep our priorities straight. The sacrament of Confession is especially meaningful before Christmas in clearing away sin and starting over in anticipation of Christ. And be sure your decorations include a Nativity – maybe on your mantle, maybe on your front lawn…because the birth of Christ is Christmas!