Saturday, December 24, 2011


Having just converted to Catholicism two months ago, this is our first Advent we've celebrated as Catholics.  And, surprise surprise, I've loved it.

The Liturgical Calendar is pretty amazing in and of itself.  The fact that this is how the Church has marked time for centuries-upon-centuries is remarkable.  The idea that we can build our faith around the seasons is really beautiful.

And prior to a year ago, I really didn't know much about Advent, beyond the wreath with the four candles (why IS that one pink?) that was lit weekly in churches I attended.  I guess I'd always just assumed that Advent was another word for the Christmas season.

But it turns out that Advent is actually all about preparation, penance, and the anticipation of Jesus coming to earth as a baby to save the world.  And the pink candle is there as a reminder of the joy that will come at Christmas.  (So glad I finally got that figured out!)

This really has been an amazing past four weeks for me.  We've been reading the daily Mass readings each day at home (Old Testament, responsorial Psalm, and Gospel) and OH my goodness, we will be continuing with this.  It is positively amazing to see the prophecies and what they point to, and how everything ties together.  We've been trying to make it to weekday Mass at least once a week, which has also been incredible (although a bit stressful on account of the two-year-olds, who find it perfectly acceptable to occasionally start babbling while the priest is talking.) 

To be honest, I find that Christmas makes so much more is so much fuller and easier and Christ-focused and more beautiful to celebrate...when it is observed in its context.  We spend four weeks preparing our hearts and minds for Jesus, reflecting on Mary's willingness to say yes, on John the Baptist's preparing the way, all of it.  My kids have such a deeper understanding and appreciation of Christmas too. 

So as my first official Advent comes to a close, as the anticipation leads into celebration of Christ's Mass (did you know that's what the word Christmas means and comes from?!), I am ever so grateful for the Church, the Liturgical year with its seasons and feast and fast days, for Mary and the role God gave her in redemption, and most of all for Jesus who came into our world as a baby to save us from our sins. 

Gifts are wrapped and under the tree, the fudge is made, my cards are ready to be mailed out (Christmas lasts until Epiphany so I'm technically not late!), and we'll be at 10 pm Mass tonight.  What a joy it will be to receive Jesus in the Eucharist and kick off our Christmas celebration worshipping God come to Earth.

I hope you have a wonderful and celebratory Christmas Eve, friends!


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