This past Sunday marked the beginning of Advent, my favorite time of year. What I love most about Advent is that it is four weeks long, and the opportunities to celebrate and prepare for Jesus’ birth are abundant. But, many people forget this. Just last Friday, people lined up at midnight outside Wal-Mart and bought everything on their Christmas list in a six hour blur of big screen T.V.s and elbows. Others rushed out to buy a Christmas tree, and decked their house in every last light they could find in the attack. And, by Friday evening, they were “done” preparing for Christmas and back to life as usual.
My own personal version of this would be when my grandma gives me one of those “Christmas Countdown Chocolate Calendars,” the ones with a piece of chocolate behind each day leading up to Christmas—and its gone by December 5th! People no longer spend all of Advent preparing for the birth of Jesus Christ, they do what needs to be done, as fast as possible, and then forget he’s coming until the 23rd.
Advent is four weeks long (and so are a lot of Christmas sales!) and as difficult as it may be, we should try to keep that in mind. Instead of setting up the house or buying all the gifts in one day, spread it out! Enjoy the preparations. Do something small every day in anticipation for the birth of Christ. Make an Advent wreath with your family (or roommates!) and light a candle at dinner; say an extra prayer every evening; pray Vespers before Mass.
The most important things is that we don’t fall asleep in the wait for Jesus, that we remember every day—not just when they light the Advent wreath at Mass on Sunday or when The Grinch is on TV or Wal-Mart has a big sale—that Christ is coming and we must be ready. And keep it to one piece of chocolate a day from the Advent calendar. Your stomach will thank you and you’ll have more candy toward the end of the four weeks!
Eileen Welch is an undergraduate student at The Catholic University of America and is Regent of Catholic Daughters Court Catholic University