In my many years of involvement in the Knights of Columbus I have attended many State and Council events, and for the most part they have all been great successes. Of course, some were more successful than others and I feel that the element that can make an event change from a good success to great success is the element of preparation.
The Church has recognized the importance of preparation and has therefore given us periods of time to prepare ourselves for the great events of our Liturgical Year. We are nearing the preparatory period of Advent and the success of our Christmas is truly dependent on how well we utilize this time of preparation. Here are some suggestions for how you and your family can better prepare for the Christmas celebration.
In the recognition that many families do not have the same financial comfort that many of us possess, it is important for us to turn to the first principle of our order, Charity, and consider how we might be able to help others celebrate the Incarnation of our Lord. If we use the season of Advent to feed the hungry and to shelter the homeless we will be preparing ourselves to truly make Christmas “a season for giving.”
And to deepen our sense of celebration when Christmas arrives it is good for us to celebrate a little bit less as we await the coming of our Messiah. Therefore I encourage you to remember the Church tradition of fasting on Fridays and other days if you wish. Not only will this help you remember the Good Friday sacrifice of Jesus, for which he came into this world, but this fasting will add to your sense of celebration come Christmas day.
It is also good for us to prepare for Christmas through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, through increased time for prayer and in spending more time with scripture. Jesus came into the world to repair humanity’s damaged relationship with God and these three spiritual gifts help us to continue Jesus’ work, in ourselves, each day. That said, offering some time each Sunday for prayer and the reading of Scripture will also help us keep our Sundays holy, not only in this Advent season but throughout the entire year.
Each December we meet up with so many people who ask us, “Are you ready for Christmas?” This year may you be able to respond, “Yes, I am prepared for the coming of the Lord because I properly prepared myself through the season of Advent.”