a time for new beginnings...

Today is the first Sunday of Advent and the beginning of a new church year. Happy New Year everyone! I don't know about you but I am ready for a new beginning. These past few weeks have been tough ones filled with sickness and injury. So I say out with the old and in with the new.

In recent years I have tried to approach Advent with a similar mindset as Lent. I try to offer a small sacrifice each day, cut back on little extravagances and eat a little more simply during the week. When the children were small we had a Jesse Tree as well as an Advent chain that we would read one link from each evening. We have an advent wreath that we light each night and my husband and I say the St. Andrew Christmas Novena for a special intention each year. This year we will be reading the Advent Magnificat as well as Fr. Benedict Groeschel's Behold, He Comes.

It is our tradition to decorate the house the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I know that this goes against the idea of "waiting and preparing" but it was a compromise made early in our marriage to blend two traditions, so we have kept it that way. Now I can concentrate on the "interior preparations" of the heart. That's where the real work needs to be done anyway. This year I feel that pull to quiet preparation even more desperately than in years past.

I read this in today's The Word Among Us:( Luke 21:25-28,34-36) and it struck a cord in my heart:

"So as Advent begins, ask yourself who Jesus is for you. Is he just a little baby in a manger? Or is he also the Suffering Servant who gave up his life to set you free from sin and death? Is he the Lord of all creation, who is coming back to bring his faithful people to heaven? May God open our eyes this season so that we can see Jesus in a new way and be transformed by what we see!"

“Jesus, I want to dedicate this season to seeing you more fully. Come, Lord, and make me ready to greet you when you come again!”

May you be blessed this Advent season as we dedicate ourselves to seeing Jesus more fully!
Blessings and Peace,