Pastor's Corner (12/03/21)

Season of Advent
By Fr. Bob Hoffman
For Catholics, the time leading up to Christmas is a time of spiritual preparation. It starts four Sundays prior to Christmas. It is not an early celebration of Christmas.
Christmas is celebrated first with Christmas Day, but also with the whole octave of Christmas. All eight days of the octave are celebrated as Christmas. Finally, the Christmas season goes from Christmas until the Baptism of the Lord (January 9 for 2022). We do not abandon Christmas part way through this season. Ideally, we keep our decorations in place until January 9.
Advent focuses on Jesus’ coming from a three-fold perspective.
First, we remember Jesus’ birth at Christmas. As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, we place ourselves in the scene of those who were awaiting the coming Messiah. We read Old Testament readings which predict this Messiah. And we try to look forward to Christmas with the same anticipation with which the Jewish people looked forward to the Messiah.
Second, we look forward to Jesus’ Second Coming at the end of time. We live in this time after the First Coming of Jesus and before his Second Coming. We take steps to ensure that we are ready in case that Second Coming happens in our lifetime.
Third, we reflect on Jesus’ coming into our heart. Saint Augustine wrote of how he had looked outside for God without realizing that God was already within him. Jesus is already present in our heart in a special way. We do not need to seek him out. We just need to be receptive to his presence.
Rather than rush headlong into Christmas, we should take time to prepare in a spiritually meaningful way.