Happy New Year! Today we begin a new liturgical year with the First Sunday of Advent. It is easy to tell the change in seasons: The church is adorned with a different dominant color (purple), the Advent wreath with the four candles for each of the Sundays is visible for all to see, and for the first time in almost two years, we have “Breaking Bread” books in our pews!
What does Advent mean to you? Is it about buying Christmas gifts, decorating your home/yard for Christmas, and listening to Christmas music? That may be a part of it. I don’t want to sound like Scrooge, but there is much more to Advent. Maybe this year we can prayerfully prepare for the coming of Jesus through our Advent worship. The color of purple in the vestments worn by Father and the deacons signifies a penitential season. To prepare for Christmas, it is my sincere hope that we prepare our hearts and souls first. One of the simplest yet most effective ways of doing this is to experience the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Advent. This year, we have a Community Penance Service scheduled for Thursday, December 9 at 6:30pm. We will have several priests on hand to help each of us to experience the incredible forgiveness of our sins through Jesus’ love and grace in this Sacrament. I hope you will block off that evening to be here and feel His forgiveness! There will also be other opportunities here throughout Advent to experience this wonderful Sacrament.
The readings you will hear on these four Sundays leading up to Christmas will have a common theme: Preparing the way of the Lord. Maybe this Advent we can prepare for Christmas as if it were the first Christmas over 2000 years ago. Doing so can’t help but make celebrating the birth of Jesus so much more meaningful! May we get ourselves into the “Christmas spirit” by first getting ourselves into the “Advent spirit”!
- Deacon Jeff