Preparing Our Hearts and Minds for Advent
Advent comes from the Latin word "adventus" which means "coming". It is used to describe the "coming" of Jesus, bodily and spiritually, into the world. Christians utilise the four Sundays and weeks of Advent to prepare for the coming of Christ and to remember the true meaning of Christmas. The meaning of "coming" at Advent is threefold. First and most pertinently is that which happened 2000 years ago when Christ came into the world, born as a baby to live as a man and die for us. The second sense in which Jesus "comes" can happen now as Jesus wants to come into our lives today and live within us. And the third "coming" will happen in the future when Jesus comes back to the world as king and judge of all.
Here are some helpful tips to prepare our hearts and minds for this Advent season.
Plan to enter deeper into prayer - Prayer is an essential part of your spiritual life. Use Advent to offer your day to God when you get out of bed. Prayer has to be established through habit, just like virtuous living. Make a plan now for prayer time during Advent.
Dedicate time each day to silence - We need silence to grow in the spiritual life. Now is the time to plan a period of silence each day throughout Advent. Hopefully the habit will keep up long after the Advent season ends. Perhaps incorporate silence with darkness which are two important aspects of the Advent season. Spend time praying before an Advent wreath with the candles lit in the darkness.
Make a plan to enter deeper into the scripture readings for the four Sundays of Advent - The powerful imagery of Advent reminds us to re-focus our lives on holiness and spiritual purity. Make a plan ahead of time to spend a few minutes meditating on the scripture readings for the four Sundays in Advent. We must ask God to use His Word in order to deepen our understanding of the mysteries of our faith. We all need God to help us with the continued conversion of our hearts and to conform our wills to that of the Most Holy Trinity.
Advent is a time when we prepare our hearts and minds to receive Jesus once again. It is a time to renew our faith, to grow in faith, to rediscover Jesus, and discover ourselves a little more as we relate to Him.
May we approach Advent prayerfully and purposefully this year and always…!