meaningful mondays: and so it begins, advent week one

This four-day weekend offered me some relished reading time and cherished down time with family. I could feel my body physically slowing in preparation for this season we’ve now stepped into — Advent. What a blessed time of year!

To make the most of it, I’m doing a couple of things. One, I’ve signed up for “Study the Gospels in a Year,” a continuation of what Flocknote started at the beginning of the Year of Faith with The Catechism and sending out daily emails or text with bits of wisdom in them. I can’t wait to begin digging into these daily nuggets of wisdom and enrichment from the Gospels themselves! To join me, go here to sign up. It’s free, and easy.

And more specific to the season, I’m diving into Edward Sri’s “The Advent of Christ: Scripture Reflections to Prepare for Christmas.” 

I had a chance to hear Dr. Sri in Bismarck in October, and a few years before that, interview him on Real Presence Radio when he was in town for a Marian Eucharistic Congress. He’s around my age, but has a few degrees more and a few kids more, too. Which makes him smarter, wiser and even busier than I.

Seriously, though, he presents complex theology in such an easy to digest fashion that I do really appreciate and respect his work. For the first reflection from his Advent book, he challenged me: “What are some things you can do each day this Advent to prepare spiritually for Christmas?”

It got me thinking about how much I like Lent, and the preparation for Easter we do then, and how edifying it is to prepare my body and soul through fasting. If I can make it 40 days, surely I can do 25 days.

Not that Advent is Lent, because it’s not. And yet there are parallels. During Lent, we are preparing our hearts and souls for Jesus’ death and resurrection. In Advent, we are making room in our hearts and souls to receive the baby Jesus. But that baby Jesus grew up and was crucified, so in truth, as we make room for the baby Jesus, we are making room for the crucified and risen Lord as well — Emmanuel, God among us.

So, I am going to do some smaller fasts this Advent. For one, I’ll have tea in the morning instead of coffee. It’s a little lighter and it will be a sacrifice for me, but more importantly, it will be that daily reminder that I’m making a conscious decision to make a change that will awaken me each day to what I am waiting for. I’ll try some other fasts too, but this is the main one because it feels doable to me, and I don’t want to make this something so impossible to achieve that I won’t make it through day two.

What about you? What are you planning to do to prepare spiritually for Christmas? I’d love to hear your ideas.