It’s the second day of Advent! In Latin, the word “adventus” means “arrival,” “approach,” or “visit.” Indeed, all of these translations encompass the season of Advent, a period of time where we prepare for the arrival of Jesus.
I think Advent is just as important as Christmas, because it’s the time where we prepare for the birth of Jesus, even if that birth occurred more than 2,000 years ago. We take this opportunity to spend time opening ourselves up to God, opening our hearts, humbling ourselves for the “birth” of God within us.
It’s a time of reflection. Are we ready for the birth of Jesus at Christmas? Have I dirtied myself with sin so much, I need to cleanse myself in time for His coming? Truthfully it’s bigger than that–we aren’t preparing just for the coming at Christmas, where we can finally place the little baby Jesus in the manger of our Nativity set. We’re preparing for the ultimate, end-all be-all coming of our Lord.
My pastor brought up a very interesting and truthful point in his homily last Sunday. When the Lord comes, will we be ready? Will we be satisfied with our journey on Earth, did we lead a good life? Or would it be more suitable for us to drop to our knees and beg for forgiveness, praying we will get into Heaven?
I don’t want to be the latter. I know I will never lead a sin-free life. It’s humanly impossible. But that doesn’t mean I cannot try my hardest to stay on the path and live a wholesome life under God. That doesn’t mean I can’t go to Confession and start over again, to the point where I am in tune with God’s love.
This Advent, I want to start over. I’m going to make an effort to get to Confession, to cleanse myself, to read daily Advent posts done by the amazing Steubenville youth staff, to keep myself in tune with the love of God, and be ready for His coming.
When I open my presents, I want to be opening my heart.
Another thing: amidst all the noise of sweet but secular Christmas music, I want to surround myself with music about the birth of Jesus as well. There are a few songs I absolutely love to listen to during Advent and Christmas. I encourage you to listen to them if you haven’t already, because they truly are beautiful!
My mother owns Advent At Ephiesus, and it’s an absolutely beautiful album to listen to during the Advent season. I particularly wanted to share their rendition of “O come, O come Emmanuel,” one of my favorite Advent songs.
Advent is an important liturgical season, and even if I’m warily eyeing my chocolate Advent calendar and am dying to start (but I’ve got to wait until tomorrow), I know that each day is much more than a piece of chocolate hiding behind a numbered door. Thanksgiving break is over–it’s time to pull out our Advent wreath and candles, start setting up our Nativity (and it is sooo beautiful) and prepare for the Christmas tree and decorations!
Do you celebrate Advent? What do you think is most important about it, and do you have any specific traditions during the season?