Sometimes people get so wrapped up in preparation for Christmas each December that they forget about the four weeks of Advent.
Jayne Mondoy, the director of the Diocese of Honolulu’s Office of Religious Education, says that Advent “gives us time to reflect on how we participate in the ‘yes,’ to bring Christ to the world now, today.”
She said that there are three messages of joy to be found in the Advent season. God’s promise of salvation 1) has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ’s birth; 2) will be fully realized in the second coming of Christ, or parousia; and 3) is now, with God’s ultimate gift of Jesus Christ in our lives.
“So while we celebrate this understanding throughout the year, Advent is a wonderful time to really focus on how we live this Paschal Mystery each moment of our lives,” Mondoy said.
Putting those theological messages into action during Advent begins with making an extra effort to read the daily Scriptures, say the Advent wreath prayers, and light the Advent candle with family each day.
Mondoy said that when her daughter Catherine was growing up, they would keep the readings on the dining table next to their Advent wreath and say them at each meal. “We could just be having soup and rice or a musubi or something,” she said. “[But] when you begin with prayer, that simple meal becomes a feast.”
Another suggestion she offers for putting your family in the Advent spirit is to simply talk to your kids when riding in the car about what comes to their minds about the Scriptures and how they can incorporate them into their day.
“In that way, we teach our kids how to view the world. As parents we point out all kinds of stuff to our kids, stuff that we value,” Mondoy said. “So this is a very natural and loving way to bring the Scripture to life in the domestic church, which is the home. Help shape your child’s worldview through Scripture.”
If you don’t have children, you can still use the daily commute to work as an opportunity to reflect on the readings.
Living the Advent message, Mondoy adds, should also include being thankful for our blessings, and giving extra attention to those who have difficulty meeting their basic needs of food, shelter and clothing.
“Generosity and self-sacrifice during this time is another way to bring Christ to the world and to give thanks to God for what he’s given us,” she said.
Printed with permission from The Hawaii Catholic Herald.