My column in this weekend’s parish bulletin:


This year, instead of dreading Christmas for the four weeks prior, instead of gripping the arms of my chair and stiffening my resolve, instead of grimacing and screaming, I’m trying a different approach.

It’s one that involves observing Advent as something special.  It’s also one that involves forgetting that, to the rest of the world, this is the Christmas season.  Advent is not just another way of saying “shop til you drop” or a cute acronym meaning “hustle and bustle” in Latin.

Advent is, instead, a time of preparation. Just as I go shopping for all the ingredients before I make a big dinner for my extended family, so the Church year, during this time of Advent, gets us ready for the big feast.

Few feasts are as big as Christmas.  When I consider how incredible it is, God becoming man, I can’t help but remember that He gave Himself for me and rose on Easter (the other whopper of a feast).

This year, during Advent, I’m going to look through my house.  Our St. Martin de Porres Society has a list of things they can use for their new Outreach Center, including toasters, toaster ovens, crock pots, blenders, coffee makers, electric skillets, mixers, vacuums, small electric appliances, pots and pans, baking pans, dinnerware, and utensils.  I think I have a few of those things gathering dust, and maybe I can spare a few bucks to buy something for someone else.

Because Advent isn’t about me (and neither is Christmas). They’re not about how much I have to do, how much I battle in my head, how much I think things should be “perfect.”

Advent’s gearing me up for the real purpose of my life, the birth of a Baby who continues to change my approach.  How can it prepare you for the Baby?