Today’s post is the first in an Advent series from Fr. Michael Schleupner, a beloved retreat presenter, spiritual director and priest who frequently celebrates Mass at our Center. Let’s prepare our hearts and minds during this special period of waiting for the birth of Jesus.

Getting Ready – 1Advent 2nd week

Dear Friends,
During December, most of the focus is on getting ready for Christmas. Often enough, Christmas is presented as simply a holiday or week of holidays.

I realize that sometimes we say “Happy Holidays!” instead of “Merry Christmas!” We may do this out of respect for those of other faith traditions who are also celebrating special or sacred days during this month. Our Jewish brothers and sisters are celebrating Hannukah right now, from November 28 to December 6. African Americans will be celebrating Kwanzaa from December 26 to January 1.

In some public settings, we appropriately say “Happy Holidays.” Having said that, our Christian and Catholic tradition calls us to get ready for something more than just holidays. We are getting ready to celebrate the first coming of Jesus Christ to us in Bethlehem. We will celebrate that with great joy and sing Joy to the World. In addition to that, Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas, calls us to get ready for the second coming of Jesus, whenever that will be.

So, besides Christmas trees, red, green, silver, and gold decorations, streamers of lights, shopping for presents, baking cookies, and preparing for parties or special meals, we are invited, and even called, to do some personal preparation.

We are called to take a look at ourselves, at our inner self and at the quality of our outer living. We are called to get ready for a fuller coming of Christ to us right now by opening our hearts more completely to him. This is why, in our Church’s liturgy, we wear purple vestments during Advent. Purple speaks to us of repentance, in contrast to the other colors of this season. It calls us to get ready for the coming of Christ spiritually. It responds to the call of the Advent prophet John the Baptist who was “proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”

~Father Michael Schleupner

The quotation above is from the Gospel for this Sunday, the Second Sunday of Advent, December 5, Luke 3:1-6.