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Take time each day during Advent season for prayer

Published 8:21am Friday, November 29, 2013

By Deacon Mike Ellis
St. Theodore and St. James Catholic Churches

Our Thanksgiving celebrations have ended, we have survived Black Friday and listened to all the advertisements about the good deals Black Friday has to offer. Now we can change our focus to the great deal the season of Advent has to offer. How can the season of Advent be a time of preparation? In a spiritual sense we can prepare for Advent by practicing waiting, praying every day and spending each day of the Advent season in quiet expectation.

Kathleen Norris in her article for Advent called the “Challenge of Waiting” states, “During Advent we are asked to consider waiting as something holy, as what God requires of us if we are ready for the coming of Jesus Christ in the world. Luke’s gospel begins with many stories of patiently waiting: Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, is struck dumb by the angel Gabriel and must wait until his son is born to regain his voice; Elizabeth and Mary support each other as they wait out the months of pregnancy; the aged Simeon and Anna have waited faithfully for many years, praying daily in the temple that they may one day see the Messiah; as he baptizes the faithful with water, John the Baptist preaches of the one for whom he waits, who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. What these people have in common is humility before God, and a faith that is willing to wait for God to act.” This Advent season spend time waiting for Jesus to come Christmas morning.

This Advent season take time to spend each day in prayer. In the Advent packets we gave out to our parishioners we gave them an Advent prayer card to pray. It is a simple prayer but our hope is that each person would pray it each day. The prayer states: “Lord Jesus, in these four busy weeks of Advent, help us to pause to remember the depth of your love for us. Beyond anything we deserved or could have imagined, love led you to a stable in Bethlehem and all the way to Calvary. Open our hearts to welcome you anew so that we have something to share with a needy world each day, grant us the joy of your friendship and bring us strength, courage and determination to serve our brothers and sisters in your name. Amen.”

Spending time in prayer this Advent season will help us experience joy on Christmas morning.

The four weeks of Advent are filled with a long list of items to complete by Dec. 24 and 25. How do you survive such a hectic time? Spend time in quiet. As you are driving from one errand to the next drive in silence with the radio turned off. Attend your church service early for the next four weeks to ensure a moment of quiet prayer before the service begins. As you are winding down from busy days take a moment to take in the quiet of the season.

Advent is a beautiful season of the church year. If you spend this season practicing waiting, praying and enjoying quiet moments you will come to know Jesus in a new way come Christmas morning.