Advent – A Reminder to Prepare for Christ {Guest Post!}


Advent, faith, Guest Post, How to Prepare for Christ / Sunday, December 1st, 2013

{I’d like to welcome my new blogging buddy, Rachel from Efficient Momma, as my guest today! Rachel shares a few thoughts and practical ideas on how we can prepare for Christ during this Advent season. Please welcome Rachel!}

A couple days ago, my husband and I took our son, Noah, to the mall. We were wandering through the aisles at Barnes and Noble and we couldn’t help but notice how materialistic Christmas has become. There we ads at every corner featuring the “newest”, “hottest” or “must have” gifts of the season.

It’s not just Barnes and Noble though, it’s every store you pass by and every TV commercial we watch. Nothing against the stores, but it was a little disheartening to see Christmas displayed as just another day that elicits excessive spending.

We found ourselves getting sucked in, oohhing and ahhing over the different options contemplating what we should get Noah for Christmas. Technically this will be the first Christmas he’ll be able to actually open something and participate in the holiday traditions.

The toy section had aisles of toys claiming to be the best learning tools to teach your child shapes, colors and words. Jordan pushed the flashy yellow star on one toy and it started singing an obnoxious song about the color yellow and he asked me “Do kids actually need this to learn about the color yellow?”

The answer is no, they don’t. They don’t really need any of these things. I’m not saying we shouldn’t get our kids anything for Christmas, because there is a great joy that comes with seeing their face light up as they tear open that wrapping paper. What I’m saying is that we shouldn’t put all our focus on filling Christmas with material things.

A Reminder About Christmas.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think this is what Christ intended the celebration of his birthday to be about. I picked up the Catechism to see what the Catholic Church teaches about Advent and the Christmas season.

The coming of God’s Son to earth is an event of such immensity that God willed to prepare for it over centuries. He makes everything converge on Christ […] (Paragraph 522)

Whoa! I don’t know about you, but when I read that I kind of kicked myself for getting sucked into the materialistic version of Christmas. God literally took centuries to prepare for the birth of His Son. Should we not be doing a little bit more to prepare ourselves for Christmas?

One of the footnotes cites “O marvelous exchange! Man’s Creator has become man, born of the Virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity” (Antiphon 1 of Evening Prayer for January 1st). I don’t know about you, but that in itself is humbling. I often forget that humanity is such a weakened state of being.  If our own God humbled himself, should we not do the same as we prepare for His birth? 

What We Will Be Doing

It’s always a good idea to prepare for Christ, but Advent is especially important. So what exactly can we do to help focus our attention towards the coming Messiah?

I’ve put together a quick list of things that we are going to work on this Advent season as we try to teach our son what Christmas is actually about.

1. Focus on Advent

If you spend Advent preparing for Jesus, Christmas day is going to have a lot more meaning. We are going to try not to listen to Christmas music before Christmas. When it comes to decorating, we’re trying to hold off until at least the week before Christmas, if not Christmas Eve.

Last year I put up the Nativity scene but had the Wise Men travel through the house moving closer to the manger scene as we progressed throughout Advent. And sweet baby Jesus didn’t get to hang out in the manger until Christmas Day.

Of course we’ll have the Advent wreath and I want to read the Gospel for the upcoming Sunday after we light that weeks candle. At some point I’d love to incorporate the Jesse Tree into our family traditions.

2. Spend Time in Adoration

What better way to prepare ourselves then to spend some time basking in Grace. I know that it’s not feasible for everyone to take their kids to Adoration, but I urge you to try even it’s just for five minutes. I took Noah the other day and the awe on his face when he saw the Monstrance was inspiring as he pointed to it saying “Jesus?”.

I’d never taken him before and he knew without me telling him that that was Jesus. Our visit only lasted about five minutes, but it was well worth it. I told myself that God was giving me a concentrated dose of Graces to make up for the lack of time I was able to spend with Him.

3. Go to Confession

I know I don’t take advantage of this wonderful Sacrament enough. We are going to make it a goal to go to Confession at least once before Christmas so our souls are squeaky clean for the big day.

4. Adopt A Family

Our Church has an annual Advent Angel tree. Each ornament is a piece of paper with an item that a family in need would like for Christmas. We’re planning on grabbing a couple of these this year and hopefully bless a family that wouldn’t have otherwise had something under the tree.

5. Give Gifts with Meaning

When it does come time to open and give gifts this year, we’re trying to move the focus away from their monetary value. Instead of spending a fortune (which we don’t have) we’re trying to give gifts with meaning this year. Whether that means activities that encourage family time (i.e. board games or puzzles) or pictures and home videos for the family we don’t get to see much.

6. Simplify Life and Remove Clutter

This year I’m joining Haley over at Carrots for Michaelmas for Advent Unplugged. You can read more about my goals here, but I’m basically going to be simplifying life a bit during this season. One of the things I’m working on this year is limiting social media in my life. It’s taken up a lot of time during my day and I know I need to cut back. See what is causing clutter in your life and make a goal to cut back.

7. Find Ways to Bless Others

Maybe God has blessed you with money and you have the opportunity to bless a family in need. If so, that’s awesome! But even if you don’t have a lot of extra money, try to find ways to bless others with your time and talents. You can get a few ideas here.

8. Focus on the Family

The holidays can be a crazy time of year. We are constantly trying balance family time with the rest of life. Advent is a great time to refocus our energy on prioritizing quality time with each other. For us that means making sure we’re saying family prayers at night and reserving Sundays as a time of rest and relaxation.

Do you have any family traditions for Advent? What do you think about the direction Christmas has taken in our society?

*******

Rachel graduated from Benedictine College where she met her husband, Jordan. They got married right after graduation in 2011 and welcomed their son, Noah, into the world in October of 2012. Rachel writes about her joys and struggles of being a semi-crunchy, Catholic, stay-at-home momma over at Efficient Momma.

2 Replies to “Advent – A Reminder to Prepare for Christ {Guest Post!}”

  1. Lots of excellent ideas. I know I for one have already started to feel the frets of, do we have enough time to do everything before Christmas! I feel like everyone has their tree decorated, lights up, presents wrapped, and looks all sparkly, merry and bright.

    I get focused on the activities and not the introspection. I definitely need to get to adoration and confession very soon. Hopefully this weekend.

    God bless! Great guest post!

    <3 jeni
    Jeni recently blogged…Submissive Women, Feminists and the ChurchMy Profile

    1. Thanks for your comment Jeni! I love that Rachel reminds us of the deeper things we need to ‘prepare’ for our souls and not just for the ‘show’ of it all. I love the name of your blog by the way! Made me chuckle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.