With two more weekends to go in Advent there is still time to increase the bliss-factor of your Christmas with a little extra spiritual preparation. Yes, there are Christmas cards to be sent (list, buy, write, address, post - gulp! stamps are sooooo expensive in multiples) and presents to be dealt with in like manner too. Then, there are menus to plan, cleaning to be done, decorations to be put up, Nativity plays to attend and office lunches and parties, and, oh so many other things to do before the Big Day.
But please Stop!
Take a deep breath, and remind yourself what this is all about: physical preparations are only a part of the equation.
First, let’s consider what Advent is
Advent, first season of the Church year (includes the four Sundays leading up to Christmas) comes from the Latin word, adventus meaning arrival, and is a time of spiritual preparation before we celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Traditionally, it is also known as “little Lent” and is best marked by increased prayer, fasting (not pre-Christmas greed as the telly ads showing people guzzling tins of chocs would have us believe!), and good works. All this focuses the mind and heart on the “reason for the season”, so it follows that: the deeper your spiritual preparation the more joyous your Christmas can be!
Being a great advocate of simplicity for maximum effect I would like to share something that could assist your spiritual goal:
Put aside a minimum of 5 minutes for this meditation. (If you use public transport to get to work you could do this on a bus or train.)
Slowly read over the Bible passage below using all of your powers of imagination to bring the scene to life by picturing yourself there in the presence of Mary and the angel Gabriel.
To help you do this you could ask yourself:
* What do the two look like?
* What time of day is it?
* What is the temperature like?
* What expression is on Mary’s face - does she, for instance, look scared when the angel arrives and joyful when he leaves?
* And so on…
Then, try putting yourself into Mary’s shoes for a few moments and ask yourself how you would have reacted. Would you, do you think, have had the courage to agree to become the mother of the Son of God?
…God sent the angel Gabriel to a town in Galilee called
, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel said to her, “Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. You are to conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you must call Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord will give Him the throne of His ancestor David and He will rule over the House of Jacob forever; His reign will have no end. Mary said, “You see before you the Lord’s servant; may it happen to me as you have said.” Luke 1.26-38 Nazareth
After the meditation
Let the vivid images of the Annunciation flood through your whole being until you feel at one with God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - and also with Mary who said “Yes” to God.
In the coming days try to recapture this scene and feeling often, even for a few seconds as you go about your business and physical preparations for Jesus’ 2012th birthday.
FYI Last posting days for Christmas cards
Tue 18th Dec 2nd class (standard cost 50p)
Thu 20th Dec 1st class (standard cost 60p)
For fuller info please see: http://www.royalmail.com/greetings?campaignid=lastposting-pers
Picture above copied from Wikipedia:
Feedback: I would love to hear from you! If you have any comments, any wisdom to share on Advent preparation, and so on please do…
Coming next: Christmas charity giving – have you heard of +Mary’s Meals?