Anticipating the Christ child this Advent

November 27, 2023 at 10:30 a.m.
The first Advent candle is lit in St. Pius X Church, Forked River. Monitor file photo/Jeffrey Bruno
The first Advent candle is lit in St. Pius X Church, Forked River. Monitor file photo/Jeffrey Bruno


The season of Advent will soon be here. It is a unique season of hope, filled with expectation and preparation for all of us in the Christian community to commemorate the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ – although it can be missed easily by society at large as simply an extended, early celebration of Christmas.

True enough, Christ has already come, and we should rejoice in his Incarnation every day of our lives. But the four weeks of Advent give us all a special time for the prayerful “retelling” of the story leading up to the birth of the Lord Jesus, the Hope of Israel. While the decorations and carols are all beautiful, we should not let them distract us from the true meaning of the season: Christ has come into our world, the “Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).” Advent gives us that opportunity to reflect on that mystery of our faith.

The images of Isaiah and the prophets, John the Baptist, and Mary figure so prominently in the Scriptures we read and preach during these few, fast weeks. We need to let the “Word” sink deeply into our minds, hearts and souls as the great scriptural Advent figures anticipated the “Word made flesh.”  The hymns we sing and the orations we pray at Mass all fix our attention in faith upon the One who has come, the One who is coming and the One who is yet to come, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is all about Him: everything we are, everything we hope for and everything we do as Christians. 

We need to make every day of Advent an anticipation of yet another, more profound, more transforming revelation of Emmanuel, “God among us.”  Although we have read and sung and prayed the Advent message many times before, a pause, some quiet time for prayer, the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, going to Mass more frequently all go a long way to “make all things new” … again. Not only for the people of God but for those who minister to them in our parishes as well. 

As we journey together through the Advent season, may the Lord Jesus Christ renew our hearts in joyful expectation once more as we celebrate his presence among us, especially in the Holy Eucharist!

During these beautiful four weeks of Advent, may I suggest that you consider going to Mass during the week when you can. As you do your shopping and errands, stop by your church and pray before our Blessed Lord, even if for just a few moments. He is here for you …let him know that you are here for him. Receive the Sacrament of Penance and make a good Confession, no matter how long it may have been since the last time. Parish penance services are a good opportunity. Pray the Rosary, asking our Blessed Mother to protect and intercede for you and your loved ones. Pick up your Bible and read the Gospels, listen to Our Lord’s “Good News.” Do something nice, something charitable for someone who does not expect it. Remember the poor. Just pause every once in a while to remember that, as they say, “Jesus is the reason for the season.”

Christmas is, truly, “the most wonderful time of the year.” But don’t let Advent pass you by.


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The season of Advent will soon be here. It is a unique season of hope, filled with expectation and preparation for all of us in the Christian community to commemorate the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ – although it can be missed easily by society at large as simply an extended, early celebration of Christmas.

True enough, Christ has already come, and we should rejoice in his Incarnation every day of our lives. But the four weeks of Advent give us all a special time for the prayerful “retelling” of the story leading up to the birth of the Lord Jesus, the Hope of Israel. While the decorations and carols are all beautiful, we should not let them distract us from the true meaning of the season: Christ has come into our world, the “Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).” Advent gives us that opportunity to reflect on that mystery of our faith.

The images of Isaiah and the prophets, John the Baptist, and Mary figure so prominently in the Scriptures we read and preach during these few, fast weeks. We need to let the “Word” sink deeply into our minds, hearts and souls as the great scriptural Advent figures anticipated the “Word made flesh.”  The hymns we sing and the orations we pray at Mass all fix our attention in faith upon the One who has come, the One who is coming and the One who is yet to come, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is all about Him: everything we are, everything we hope for and everything we do as Christians. 

We need to make every day of Advent an anticipation of yet another, more profound, more transforming revelation of Emmanuel, “God among us.”  Although we have read and sung and prayed the Advent message many times before, a pause, some quiet time for prayer, the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, going to Mass more frequently all go a long way to “make all things new” … again. Not only for the people of God but for those who minister to them in our parishes as well. 

As we journey together through the Advent season, may the Lord Jesus Christ renew our hearts in joyful expectation once more as we celebrate his presence among us, especially in the Holy Eucharist!

During these beautiful four weeks of Advent, may I suggest that you consider going to Mass during the week when you can. As you do your shopping and errands, stop by your church and pray before our Blessed Lord, even if for just a few moments. He is here for you …let him know that you are here for him. Receive the Sacrament of Penance and make a good Confession, no matter how long it may have been since the last time. Parish penance services are a good opportunity. Pray the Rosary, asking our Blessed Mother to protect and intercede for you and your loved ones. Pick up your Bible and read the Gospels, listen to Our Lord’s “Good News.” Do something nice, something charitable for someone who does not expect it. Remember the poor. Just pause every once in a while to remember that, as they say, “Jesus is the reason for the season.”

Christmas is, truly, “the most wonderful time of the year.” But don’t let Advent pass you by.

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