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The true meaning of Advent

The true meaning of Advent  (12/03/03)

Advent, n  1.  a coming; approach; visitation   2.  specifically, the coming of Christ

I don't know about you but about this time of the year I realize that I waited until the last minute to do my Christmas shopping again.  These last few weeks are spent frantically wondering what gifts to get and running around finding them.  Every year it's the same old story.  I say (and really do mean it) that I am going to purchase gifts through the year and not have this stress of last minute shopping.  Now don't get me wrong, I love Christmas and I especially love giving, but when done in such a rush I sometimes lose site of the true meaning of Advent as well as Christmas. 

This time of Advent should be spent in preparation.  Preparation for what?  The birth of Christ?  Christ has already been born, we celebrate His birth on Christmas day.  We have this time to focus specifically on His coming again.  We need to be careful and not get so wrapped up in preparing to celebrate his birth that we forget that this is a time to be preparing to meet Him again.  I'm glad it is at this time of year though and the good side of people are coming out.  The giving to the needy, feeding the poor, clothing the homeless, making amends with those that have hurt us.  I'm sure if Christ were to come during this season many of us would be glad that we had our best foot forward.  Problem is He may wait and come on, oh let's see, July 22.  Will you be ready then?  I'm not making any prophecies here, only trying to point out that we should celebrate Advent all year long.  I am glad that we have this time set aside every year though to put us back on the right track.  One way we can use this for Christmas is to make a gift for the Christ child.  A gift of how we spend our time.  Take a little extra time at this season for a prayer time, visit a lonely elderly person, be extra nice to someone that has not been very nice to you, go to mass during the week and receive the Eucharist. 

Enjoy the season!  Have fun preparing for the celebration of Christmas Day, but don't forget the true meaning of Advent.  Slow down just a little.  You have 1,440 minutes each day, give God just 10 of those minutes a day in quiet reflection.  I'm sure He will treasure them more than any other gift you give this year. 

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