To all my fellow Catholics, happy New Year! Ok ok, I understand that you are probably wondering what happened to me. After all this is only the beginning of December. I am sure that you’re thinking, “we have not even passed Christmas and you are wishing us a happy New Year. Do you not like Christmas Nick? What weirdo are you?” Oh no, I love Christmas, from the tree, to the Christmas lights, to the Christmas music, and last but by no means least—Christmas mass. Christmas Eve’s Midnight Mass is really neat, but I am getting off track.
So the reason why I wished you a happy New Year, is because the Catholic Church’s calendar started a new year last Sunday. Yes Advent marks the start of a new chronological year in the Catholic Church’s calendar. This is by no means a mistake though. Just as we celebrate the Fourth of July to mark the United States’ founding, so does the Catholic Church mark the beginning of redemption. Jesus’ birth does not mark the birth of the Catholic Church (that is what Pentecost is) but rather the birth of the Redeemer. Nevertheless, the Birth of Our Lord is a point of time where the world was changed forever. Due to the importance of this feast, the Church has wisely created a time for its members to prepare for it. Advent is a time to prepare for Christ and His gift to mankind of Himself.
Here are a couple of ways to make this Advent a fruitful time of preparation:
- Make sure that you are getting your heart. Ask Jesus, Mary and Joseph to help you live out Advent’s time of waiting for Christ well
- Set aside some time for prayer to get away from the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations. It can be easy to get distracted from what Advent is calling us to do. It is important that we take time to reorient ourselves back to the purpose of this time.
- Find and use an Advent Calendar (it is not too late to start). The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops offers one that you can find here
I hope that you find this list helpful for your journey through this season of anticipation. If you have any devotions, prayers, or acts of charity that you follow during Advent please comment about them below. Have a blessed Advent and happy New Year!