Let’s prepare for Christmas

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 7, 2015

Well, Halloween is over.  Merry Christmas!

I read this on Facebook last Saturday, and there seems to be a lot of truth in it. We jump so quickly from Halloween to Christmas.  How can we truly prepare for Christmas?

I’m not talking about making a list of gifts to buy, getting our cards addressed and decorations up at our home, or writing invitations to the party we plan to give. I’m talking about preparing our hearts, minds, and spirits for the coming of Christ into our world.

Keeping the season of Advent (beginning four Sundays before Christmas Day) is a great way to prepare spiritually for our celebration of Christmas. To learn more about keeping Advent, you can watch a short YouTube video called “Advent in Two Minutes” (https://www.youtube.com/watc-h?v=S-02KOlw7dlA).

If Advent isn’t something you’ve done before, here are a few suggestions for what to do during this time.

You can ask yourself some questions. For example, which areas of my life require patience, waiting, and anticipation; and what can Advent teach me about these? How can I create pockets of peace during the holiday season?

You can choose a book or devotional guide to read. If you don’t have one in mind, we have small devotional guides in the lobby at St. Mary’s, and you are welcome to drop by and take one.

You can start a new Advent tradition. Use an Advent wreath or Advent calendar in your home, as you anticipate Christmas.  Keep the manger in your nativity set at home empty until Christmas Eve.

You can give meaningful gifts to others. Purchase cards and gifts from charitable organizations. Give a donation to a charitable organization (maybe even commit to giving the same amount you spend on gifts). Be kind to folks working in retail during the holidays.

Whatever you choose to do, I hope you will take a few quiet, peaceful moments to prepare yourself spiritually for Christ’s coming. You will be glad you did.

Gracious God, send us your grace in the Advent Season, so that we can prepare for your coming. Touch our hearts, so we can better love and serve you and each other. Fill us with the hope that we can be transformed by your Spirit and so help transform the world. In the name of the One who came at Christmas.  Amen.


The Rev. Cindy Howard is rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.