As we prepare our hearts and minds for the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, we invite you to join us in a series of reflections that will illuminate the path towards the manger.
Advent, derived from the Latin word “adventus,” meaning “coming” or “arrival,” is a season of anticipation and hopeful waiting. It marks the beginning of the liturgical year in the Catholic Church, a time when we joyfully prepare for the coming of the Messiah. As we light the candles on the Advent wreath, each flicker represents a beacon of hope, peace, joy, and love, guiding us through the darkness toward the radiant dawn of Christ’s birth.
In these reflections, we will delve into the rich tapestry of the Advent season, exploring the profound significance of the season, the timeless wisdom within the Scriptures, and the transformative power of prayer.
Advent serves as a gentle reminder that, even in the midst of the world’s chaos, Christ’s light is ever-present, illuminating our lives with grace and love. Each reflection is an invitation to pause, contemplate, and deepen our connection with the divine. Through the timeless traditions of the Church and the shared stories of believers across generations, we hope to foster a sense of unity and spiritual growth among our community.
As we embark on this sacred journey, may the light of Christ shine brightly in our hearts, guiding us towards a deeper understanding of the profound mystery of the Incarnation. Together, let us prepare to welcome the newborn King with open hearts and minds, embracing the true meaning of Christmas in the warmth of God’s love.
Each reflection is an invitation to pause, contemplate, and deepen our connection with the divine.
1. Hope, Peace, Love, Joy
Advent focuses on the theme’s of Hope, Peace, Joy, Love. These words remind us of the gifts Jesus Christ will bring into the world.
Take a few moments to ponder which of those gifts – Hope, Peace, Joy or Love – you most need in your life right now. And which of those gifts do you feel you are most called by God to share with others in their lives right now?
Finally offer up a prayer to God, asking Him to bless you with the gifts you need and those with which you need to share with others.
Advent summons us into a season of eager anticipation, awaiting the birth of our Messiah, Jesus Christ. As Christians today, we share in the age-old yearning for the promised Savior’s return.
Often it is easy for us to lose sight of the true meaning of the Christmas season. We are bombarded by mixed messages of what this time of year is all about. These distractions can, at times, make it difficult to focus on our faith and connection to God.
Spend a few moments naming some of the distractions that keep you from focusing on God and your relationship with Christ. These distractions might include worries, stress, challenges you are facing, family or friends or relationships, or everyday things.
Take some time to let go of the things that hold you back and spend a moment considering how you can use this freedom to deepen your connection to God and focus on Him this Advent season.
Read from the Gospel from Luke 1:26-38
Consider the following questions:
- When have you experienced similar feelings to those in this Scripture?
- What might Mary have been feeling knowing she was to bring the light of God into the world?
What about you? Jesus says WE are the light of the world.
- How does this make you feel?
- How are you called to be a light to the world right now?
5. The Holy Family
Who would the Holy Family be in our world today? Would you notice them? Would they stand out?
Or would they maybe be judged? Might people look away? To see them as a statistic? As one more family who isn’t meeting society’s standards of “good enough”?
What if instead we looked around us — in our cities, in our homes, and in our churches — and we saw the presence of God? The Kingdom of Heaven is here among us because God chose to become human, to sanctify our world forever.
6. Connecting with the Timeless Story
Spend some time looking at the Nativity Scene and reflect on the passage of Scripture below. Although this event occurred over 2,000 years ago, we all play a major role in this story. And although we were not physically present, we still can connect to this scene.
Think about which character in this scene you identify with most at this point in your life: the expectant mother, the worried father, the scruffy shepherds, the traveling magi, the animals wondering at the spectacle happening in their stable, the angels coming to bring the Good News.
In this solitary moment, uncover the threads that weave your own narrative into the profound events of that sacred night. The Nativity is not just a historical event; it’s an invitation to connect your personal journey with the eternal story of hope and salvation.
The Birth of Jesus - Luke 1:1-20
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
The Shepherds and the Angels
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah,[a] the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host,[b] praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favours!”[c]
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.