December 3, 2013

Have you noticed the weather getting chillier and nighttime seems to settle in earlier? Yup, we're definitely getting closer to Christmas! Lights are being strewn over trees, parols hung in streets and windows, holiday jingles playing, queues getting longer in malls, Divisoria getting busier and traffic getting crazier. Yes, it's definitely the Christmas season, folks.

While Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays (the cheerfulness in the air, presents wrapped beautifully, family-get togethers and the relaxing weather), I've come to have a newfound appreciation for it over the recent years. Cliche as it may sound, it has something to do with remembering the real reason for the season.

As much as Christmas is universally understood to be a time for celebration, Christmas is also the perfect time for change. With the coming of the infant Jesus, we now have the perfect excuse to make changes!

Like a house servant awaiting the return of the master or a house owner anticipating the arrival of an esteemed guest, so I make the necessary preparations. Our nativity scene (Christmas belen) at home is a lovely sight but apart from that, I'd truly be happier if I can receive the infant Jesus with a renewed heart come the 25th. :)

Our home's modest belen

In the Sunday Mass homily, the priest reminded of the Advent season as an opportunity for intense preparation for the coming of our Lord. I like that word, intense. I feel a Katniss Everdeen-intense level of focus and concentration. Not because I want to win a game but because I want to be able to give a worthy reception to the most important figure in my life. :)

 We all have different ways to prepare ourselves. Different strokes for different folks, as they say. Just the same, let me share with you how I'll be preparing for Christmas during this Advent season.

1. Daily mass and prayer - yes, it's a good habit to get ourselves into :)
2. Strengthen my Marian devotion - ask for Our Lady's intercession to help us especially during this period and show us the things we need to change in ourselves
3. Confession - let this season be the season of grace to learn humility as we confess our sins and resolve to do better

4. Set up an Advent wreath - I'm not sure if I can actually do this but I really do want to be able to set up one for our house. :)
5. Little acts of love and sacrifice - to continue reminding my heart that it's not alone and that it beats to serve God, family and country.
6. Kick the bad habits! 

7. Attend an Advent recollection -  without actually 'disappearing' for several days on retreat, a recollection gives us a few hours to get our bearings and think things through. Let me know if you want to attend one. ;)

Lovely how this season of Advent can be spiritually meaningful and can usher in new changes. :)
For more tips and ideas, I found this nice article online from Catholic Fire: 12 Tips to Make Advent A More Spiritual Season.

Lastly, let's not forget to seek guidance from God this whole season, that we may always have the will, courage and strength to do His will.

"Lord, make me know your ways. 
Lord, teach your paths. 
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me: for you are God my Saviour."

May you mark a meaningful Advent season and welcome a merry Christmas with a renewed heart. :)


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