Sat. Oct 24th, 2020

When I was a child, Advent was my favorite time of the year. Why? Well, when the priest was wearing purple or pink, I knew Christmas was almost here! As an adult, Advent brings the stress of super shopping, list checking and budget blowing. Advent is the busiest season of the year. Yes, Christmas is almost here.
Advent is truly a time of preparation for the coming of Christ. Spending extra time, effort and money to make extraordinary preparations for Christmas is fitting when you think about it. We are preparing to celebrate the birth of Christ. Spending time, effort and money preparing for Christmas, sounds a lot like stewardship. Are we being good stewards of our time, talent and treasures this Advent season? Advent presents abundant opportunities through angel trees and food drives to be a good and faithful steward in our parishes and communities.
In our materialistic society gift giving seems to trump the true importance of the season. Advent is a time to reflect on the preparations Mary and Joseph made for the much-anticipated arrival of the infant Jesus. It is also a time to prepare our hearts for the second coming of Christ at the end of time.
Most importantly, in this busy season it is important to slow down and be present. The four candles in the advent wreath represent: hope, love, joy and peace. These are the virtues that will prepare our hearts for a glorious Christmas. If we reflect on these virtues as we prepare ourselves and our family for Christmas, we are sure to reduce the stress of the holidays. It is essential to remember His presence in our lives is the best gift we can share with those around us.
“Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. But, even if I am poured out as a libation upon the sacrificial service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with all of you. In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.” Philippians 2:14-18
­­— Shannon Roh is the Executive Director of the Office of Development and Stewardship for the Archdiocese of Mobile.

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