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Father Muench Says...

Getting ourselves ready for Christmas

Dec. 4, 2019

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Let us talk about Advent, today. December is a very busy month. There are many things competing for our attention this month. Spiritually, this is the time of Advent, the season that leads to the celebration of Christmas.

Advent is meant to be a time of prayer and penance as we prepare our hearts and souls to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Advent is about getting ourselves ready for Christmas. Advent is a time for us to step aside from the stuff of life to contemplate the place that God takes in our lives. Jesus leads us to find God the Father.
Advent is a good time to consider how well we are living and how well we are using the opportunities to bring God’s love and peace into all we do. Advent is the time when we celebrate our relationship with Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Advent is the time for a spiritual preparation to strengthen our faith in the coming of Jesus as incarnate among us, longing to enter our hearts and our world.

Now at the same time, there are many other things going on during December as Christmas approaches. There are Christmas trees and other decorations. There is the writing and sending out of Christmas cards. There is the Christmas shopping for gifts, gifts to give as presents to those who are important to us. And, of course, there are all sorts of Christmas parties to plan and to attend. I want to tell you, as I do every year, that personally I love all these things. I love to receive and send Christmas cards. This is actually when I connect with so many who I consider my friends, but, in reality, only contact once a year. I try to take plenty of time writing these cards to use the opportunity well.

So, a busy December – so many things to do. However, I want to use this moment to encourage you to make certain that this Advent, spiritual preparation gets the time in your life that it deserves. The birth of Jesus is the heart and soul of our Catholic faith. The prayers, the music and the scriptures of Advent lead us closer to a stronger relationship with Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Our belief in the incarnation of Jesus brings a deeper meaning to our own human life. Jesus became one of us. Jesus became incarnate to die for us.

The Feast of Christmas each year begins our remembrance of the story. Again, we begin to celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We are challenged to recognize all that Jesus means to us as Catholics and Christians.

Each time we recite the Creed at Mass – it is a precious moment – we remember and celebrate all that Our Lord means to us. I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of exactly what our faith is in the incarnation of Jesus. So, I would like to quote for you something from the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults.

“It is necessary to believe that the mystery of the Incarnation means that Jesus was both fully God and fully man. Jesus became truly man while remaining truly God. Above all it is in the Paschal Mystery, which is the saving Passion, death and Resurrection of Jesus that we participate most profoundly in the mystery of Christ.

Here is the heart of the Kingdom and salvation to which we are called. In Christ, we die to self and sin. We rise to participate in his Divine life through the Resurrection. This is made possible for us through the Sacraments.”
So, here we go again. Another Advent – truly a time to renew the story that is at the center of our faith. Advent is a special time.

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