We’re now in the second week of Advent, and though the Christmas countdowns in stores may be stressing you out, the reality is that there is plenty of Advent left to savor and enjoy. While you’re likely working on Christmas preparations like tree-trimming and gift wrapping, remember there are also other things that will help you be prepared for Christmas in the ways that matter most.
Fr. Robert Spitzer, a regular contributor to A Closer Look™, recently shared a couple of Advent objectives that will help you enter into Christmas with a sense of true peace, hope, and joy.
“Christ is coming into our lives at Christmas, what do I have to do first to prepare?” he asked. “And what can I do to deepen my relationship with Him, so that when He does come in Christmas, when I’m celebrating the joy of Christmas, I’m going to let Him ever more deeply into my heart?”
Fr. Spitzer’s first recommendation is something that is available all year long, but is especially meaningful during the Advent season.
“The first thing, of course, is the Sacrament of Reconciliation,” he said. “I mean, if we want to let Jesus into our hearts more deeply, if we want to follow Him more nearly, if we want to really work on our moral conversion, if we really want to deepen the transformation of our heart into His heart, then I think what we really need to do is first get to that Sacrament of Reconciliation.”
This may seem like an obvious answer. But have you actually made space in your calendar to go to Confession during this Advent season? Schedules can easily be booked up with gatherings of family and friends, so take out your calendar right now (yes, right now!) and figure out when you will be able to go to Confession this Advent.
“Sometimes during the year we can just let it go and let it go,” Fr. Spitzer acknowledged. “And [during Advent] if your parish doesn’t have two or three reconciliation ceremonies, the parish next door almost assuredly does. So please, the first thing to do is put it on the calendar. I’m going to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation at one of these Advent Reconciliation ceremonies. I’m going to do it my parish or the parish next door. I’m putting it on my calendar. I’m gonna get it done.”
“Why? Because it’ll break the grip of the evil spirit. It will give me definitive absolution for my sins. And those two things alone – getting definitive absolution from sins and breaking the grip of the devil – just make the funnel to my heart 1,000 times wider. You can just see how Reconciliation and absolution just make people lighter in spirit. But more than that, it frees them from whatever grip the devil has got over us. And then it heals us from past sins, from the darkness or the damage of past sins.”
As you continue through the Advent season, think about where you want to be on Christmas Day. At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Christ, where His mission began. But Christmas can also be a new beginning for you. Take advantage of the opportunity to enter into Christmas in a state of grace, ready to begin again in fulfilling the mission the Lord has for your life.
“That’s what Advent is all about,” Fr. Spitzer said. “Starting over, new beginnings. I mean, that’s what it’s about. So, we’ve got a new beginning coming and we do that before Christmas. Christmas is the culmination of the beginning. It’s kind of like we’re now at the point where we can celebrate the restoration of our souls. So the first thing is, please go to one of those wonderful Sacrament of Reconciliation ceremonies in the parish near you.”