For many of us, this final week before Christmas is the most hectic of the year. Between office Christmas parties and “holiday” pageants at our children’s schools, we’re baking Christmas cookies and trying to squeeze in some last-minute shopping. And in the process, our nerves get frazzled, and we lose sight of what Christmas really means.
The tension and the stress and the frenetic pace, however, make this the perfect time to stop, take a deep breath, and take stock of our souls. Setting aside a few minutes here and there throughout the day to concentrate on Christ will not only help us prepare to celebrate Christmas with greater joy, but it will also bring us peace right now, when we need it most. Here are a few ideas that might help.
If asked to name an Advent hymn, most people would reply, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” In fact, that may be the only Advent hymn they know by name, and small wonder: It is the most popular of all Advent hymns, and most parishes start singing it on the First Sunday in Advent. But do you know where the hymn comes from? You can find a hint in the “Featured Articles” below.
Just as the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena lasts longer than nine days, I would like to suggest that we pray the prayer I have chosen for our novena this week for 12 days—the 12 days of Christmas, starting on Christmas Day itself and running through January 5, the eve of Epiphany. And while you’re waiting for this novena to begin on Christmas, don’t forget to keep saying last week’s novena, The Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, all the way up through Christmas Eve.
- Reading for December 21
Isaiah 48:12-21 and 49:9b-13 include verses that we have all heard in Handel‘s Messiah. The Lord identifies Himself as the Creator of all, and He describes Himself in ways that Christ will be described.
- Reading for December 22
Christ, through the plan of salvation, will reunite all mankind to God. In Isaiah 49:14-50:1, we see that our sins have separated us from Him, but the Lord does not forget those whom He has both created and chosen.
- Reading for December 23
In Isaiah 51:1-11, the prophet assures us that what the Lord has promised, He will deliver. He chose Abraham for his justice, and from him, He raised a great nation. From that nation, a Child is born, Who will bring salvation to all mankind.
- Jesus Is Near How Do We Draw Close – Posts for the 3rd Week of Advent (godspace.wordpress.com)
- “The Antiphons” and related posts (thurible.net)
- Fun With Christmas Advent Calendars! (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com)
- Advent: Christ comes so the world may be shaken (archden.org)
- Advent – A Journey (godspace.wordpress.com)