Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Yes this weekend marks the beginning of New Year in the Church. It may seem strange because we are 11 months into the calendar year, and we are in the middle of a very cold dark season. Spring feels like the season of new beginnings, yet the church New Year comes in the opposite type of season. The current season is the cold stark winter!  Every year, Advent starts the same with the message: Be Ready; Be Prepared; Be Watchful; Be Alert! And this year is no different Jesus calls us to prayerfulness, to mindful awareness as we enter into the season of advent and we wait for the coming of Jesus at Christmas. We are to be as we prepare our hearts for Christmas. This is also a stark contrast to what it feels like we should be doing this time of year.

I absolutely love Christmas and so does my family. We have lists of traditions we do each year like My Brother’s Keeper, The Enchanted Village La Salette Shrine etc. I love the decorating and everything associated with the season both secular and religious. I must admit although, we have an advent wreath and a calendar and we observe Advent in many ways in my home, we do start the Christmas season with the secular world. This year we started even earlier than usual! Even before Thanksgiving my youngest daughter and I went to see the The Star, the new movie about the birth of Jesus from the perspective of the animals. I also began shopping early. I must confess for the first time, I went out very late Thursday Night or Very Early Friday Morning (depending on how you look at it) to do some black Friday Shopping last week. I was in two jam packed stores with tons of other shoppers looking to score those great deals. As my husband and I walked the aisles in search of the few specific items we were hoping to find, we were amazed at how people seemed to not even notice us. Everyone was in such a hurry, we felt invisible. People walked right into us-literally without even an “excuse me” or “sorry”. People walked in front of us as if we weren’t in the aisle, and it was difficult to find a helpful employee to point us in the right direction of the all important deals. There was an urgency to get there before all the other shoppers snatched it up. My husband and I were not aggressive shoppers and were clearly fish out of water… we didn’t know how to do Black Friday! When we left that night I thought back to a scene from the movie my daughter and I had seen. As the wisemen, the shepherds, and all the animals are bowing down before the new born king the camel remarks about how this night will be remembered for thousands of years. People will celebrate this night by sharing gifts with one another and remembering the birth of a king! My black Friday shopping didn’t feel lie preparation for celebrating the birth of our King!

The statement came from a camel because the events of Jesus Birth are told by the animals in the movie. It is so simple and so true. Two thousand plus years ago something very special happened and we celebrate that night each and every year. We live in the joy of that night because it changed human history! We even mark time by it, yet our world has changed Advent and Christmas into a rush for the best deal, lights and decorations that look perfect! The church gives us four beautiful weeks to prepare but if I am honest I am guilty of getting completely caught up and rushing the season because I love all things Christmas! Do we celebrate the night by preparing mindfully, prayerfully, or do we reduce being prepared for the coming of Christ as having all the gifts crossed of our list? We need to remember that the camel is right that’s what we are preparing for the coming of Christ at Christmas and His Second

coming. Are we giving gifts to celebrate the birth of Jesus? We need to be mindful and stay awake. We need to be mindful of the season we are in and prepare our hearts for this celebration! I need to remind myself of what we are preparing for during Advent and always. Interestingly enough I saw a video in my face book feed just this morning that speaks to the season of Advent and how starkly different it is to the way we prepare for Christmas!

Check out the video here:

I am recommitting myself to being vigilant and truly entering into prepare in the right way for Christmas, remembering what I learned for a camel!

I also signed up for the Best Advent Ever from Dynamic Catholic (https://dynamiccatholic.com/best-advent-ever) so that daily I will be reminded that mindful prayerfulness is what Jesus asks at the beginning of advent in our Gospel readings !

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