Looking for a simple way to grow in faith this Advent Season as we prepare for Christ’s birth at Christmas? Father Rocky's Advent Inspirations are for you! Subscribe via email.

Advent Inspirations are short daily audio reflections from Father Rocky to help you delve into the beauty of the season. They're sure to bring a smile to your face and give you something to ponder as you go about your day.

Advent Inspirations

Christmas tree The Christmas Tree

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches!

Hi, this is Fr. Rocky with another Advent Inspiration.

Everyone loves a Christmas tree, and no two trees are the same. Growing up in my family we would put up the tree around December 13, the Feast of Santa Lucia and the ancient festival of lights. Sometimes we’d go and cut it down, other times we’d go with our father and buy it from the local Boy Scout Troop, and we’d get extra greens for the nativity scenes both inside and out. We’d get the best one we could find and tall enough to reach the ceiling.

The Christmas tree tradition started in northern Europe but is now universal. It’s always some type of evergreen tree, symbolic of the new and eternal life of the Christ child. The lights on the tree represent the light and hope of Christ; the ornaments represent the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit found in the soul united to Christ, and the star on top of the tree represents the Star of David that led the Three Kings from the East to Bethlehem.


Thanks for joining us on this journey. If you have missed a previous Advent Inspiration, you can find all of them here.

carol Do You Have a Favorite Christmas Carol?

 

Do you have a favorite Christmas carol?

Hi, this is Fr. Rocky with another Advent Inspiration.

There must be hundreds of Christmas carols, from many countries and in many languages. St. Josemaría’s favorite is in Spanish, and it’s based on a beautiful medieval tradition of providing shelter for the homeless at Christmastime. It’s called “Madre en la puerta hay un niño” which means “Mom, there’s a kid at the door.”

A little boy, more beautiful than the shining sun, knocks on the door and says he’s freezing cold because he’s dressed in rags. The mother says, “Let him in and he can warm up by the fire place, because these days there’s no more love in the world.” The mother asks him where he’s from, and he says, “Well, my father’s from heaven and so is my mother, and I’ve come down to earth to suffer!” It turns out, he is the Christ Child!

When we provide shelter for the homeless, we are providing a home for Jesus Christ himself.


Thanks for joining us on this journey. If you have missed a previous Advent Inspiration, you can find all of them here.

kids Kids Say the Darndest Things

Remember the Art Linkletter show, “Kids Say the Darndest Things”?

Hi, this is Fr. Rocky with another Advent Inspiration. And this is from an email from a listener named Pat in Woodridge, IL.

Pat writes, “At Christmastime two years ago I asked one of my co-workers what his young 5-year-old son Christopher wanted from Santa. ‘Well he wants an electric guitar, but that’s a little bit expensive. But when I told him that he said, ‘I know it is Dad. But I’m not asking Santa for it. That’s too much for him. I’m asking Jesus for it because all things are possible with God!'”

Pat said, “Whenever I hear Father Rocky talk about that saying above the altar in your chapel, I think of Christopher – who, by the way, got his electric guitar for Christmas.”


Thanks for joining us on this journey. If you have missed a previous Advent Inspiration, you can find all of them here.

St. Nicholas St. Nicholas Day

Jolly Old St. Nicholas, lean your ear this way!

Hi, this is Fr. Rocky with another Advent Inspiration.

December 6th is the Feast of St. Nicholas. You know who he is, don’t you? That’s St. Nicholas of Bari, a small town on the Adriatic Coast of Italy. Some of his relics are in a Church there, but he served as a Bishop in Armenia and was very generous with the poor, secretly giving away money and food for the needy, and most people never knew where it came from. Today we call him Santa Claus, and when we are generous with the poor, we are really living the Christmas spirit.

When I was a kid, we left our shoes outside our bedroom before we went to bed the night before St. Nicholas Day and when we awoke, we’d find our shoes stuffed with goodies, including chocolate marshmallows, Hershey Kisses, and a yo-yo.  We knew it wasn’t Christmas yet, but this was a warm-up to the actual day, and we just couldn’t wait. One year, when we woke up on St. Nicholas Day, we looked outside and it had snowed five inches the night before.  It was the first snow of the season and we were really excited!


Thanks for joining us on this journey. If you have missed a previous Advent Inspiration, you can find all of them here.

Christmas cookies Christmas Cookies

Somebody asked me, “Father, what’s your favorite Christmas cookie?”

Hi, this is Fr. Rocky with another Advent Inspiration.

Hmmm … what’s my favorite Christmas cookie? Now, that’s a hard one because there’s so many to choose from. And the very thought of it reminds me of the kitchen in the home I grew up in with my mother wearing an apron and putting tin tray after tin tray of Christmas cookies into the oven. And that rich, sweet smell was all over the house – especially upstairs because heat rises!

She started baking those cookies on December 6, the Feast of St. Nicholas, and kept at it until Christmas Eve. But by the time Christmas Day arrived, they were all gone. The 8 Hoffman children had eaten them all! I suppose we should have called them “Advent Cookies” because they didn’t make it to Christmas.

So what’s my favorite Christmas cookie?  The one I just ate.

I wonder what Fr. Simon’s favorite Christmas cookie is?

And what’s yours?


Thanks for joining us on this journey. If you have missed a previous Advent Inspiration, you can find all of them here.

Christmas gifts Christmas Gifts

 

What’s the best Christmas gift you ever got?

Hi, this is Fr. Rocky with another Advent Inspiration.

I’m a very lucky guy, and I have received many wonderful Christmas gifts over the years, but the ones that brought me the most joy weren’t the ones I got, but the ones I gave.  I think you know what I mean.

Think about it for a moment. Is there someone in your life –  a relative, a parent, a brother, a sister, a child, a neighbor, a co-worker, a spouse –  who is missing you? Who is lonely?  Can you call them? Can you visit them? Can you send them a Christmas card? Can you forgive them? Can you overcome your fear, stop grinding the axe and bury the hatchet? Just remember those golden words, “For it is in giving that we receive.”

This Christmas, go ahead and splurge and give of your time, your heart, and your affection, just like Jesus did when he came to earth to save us from our sins and to save us from ourselves 2,000 years ago. And you will have a very Merry Christmas!


Thanks for joining us on this journey. If you have missed a previous Advent Inspiration, you can find all of them here.

Christmas cards Christmas Cards

 

Send a Christmas card, get a Christmas card. Or is it the other way around? Get a Christmas card, send a Christmas card?

Hi, this is Fr. Rocky with another Advent Inspiration.

Everyone loves to get a Christmas card, especially these days when so much communication is electronic. But a real card, in your own handwriting, with a stamp you licked yourself, and a short message of affection can bring so much joy to folks who might otherwise feel forgotten at Christmastime. Well, that’s a real Christian thing to do. Personally, I like all Christmas cards. But my favorites, I have to admit, say “Merry Christmas” on the inside and have some reference to the birth of Christ.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like Frosty, Rudolph, Suzie, and Donner and Blitzen, but they didn’t save the world or die on a cross for you and me. Remember, if you’re not ashamed of Jesus, he won’t be ashamed of you either!


Thanks for joining us on this journey. If you have missed a previous Advent Inspiration, you can find all of them here.

ornaments Christmas Ornaments

How many Christmas ornaments can you put on a tree?

Hi, this is Fr. Rocky with another Advent Inspiration.

The number of Christmas ornaments you can put on a tree is directly proportional to the size of the tree, the number of the branches, the size of the ornaments, the time you have available, and your determination. If you’ve been paying attention, that’s a five-variable formula, so the possibilities are huge. It also depends on how many ornaments you have.

Personally, I like all of the ornaments, and the tinsel, and the garlands, and the lights, and the candy canes. But the ornaments I like best commemorate some great occasion. Like Billy and Kerry’s wedding in 2008, or the year the Cubs won the World Series, or the Canonization of St. John Paul II, or the one my sister made by hand when she was a child, or the one of the manger in Bethlehem made out of olive wood that I bought in the Holy Land one Christmas.


Thanks for joining us on this journey. If you have missed a previous Advent Inspiration, you can find all of them here.

idea Here’s An Idea for You

Here’s an idea for you.  This will help everyone in your family prepare for Christmas.

Hi, this is Fr. Rocky with another Advent Inspiration.

Everyone is busy these days, but even the busiest person has a minute to spare.

Did you know these Advent Inspirations are only one minute long and they are available on demand on the Relevant Radio App?  So tonight, when you sit down for dinner, light the candles on the Advent wreath, and then say your grace before meals, take your Relevant Radio App and play today’s Advent Inspiration for everyone to hear.  You’ll have plenty to talk about at dinner after you listen to the Advent Inspiration.  And if you want to listen to another one after dessert you can do that too, because all of them will be available on the Relevant Radio App.

This is Fr. Rocky and I approve of this message!


Thanks for joining us on this journey. If you have missed a previous Advent Inspiration, you can find all of them here.

fasting Fasting in Advent

Have you noticed that the seasons of Advent and Lent have something in common?

Hi, this is Fr. Rocky with another Advent Inspiration.

That’s right, Advent and Lent have something in common. Both are seasons of spiritual preparation for a big event: Advent prepares us for the birth of Christ on Christmas, and Lent prepares us for the Death and Resurrection of Christ on Easter.

Just like if you run a marathon, you have to get in shape weeks before, we have to get in shape spiritually for these two momentous feast days. It’s not yet the time for celebration; it’s a time of preparation. That’s why the vestments used at Mass during Advent and Lent are violet in color, and not white; that’s why we don’t sing or recite the Gloria at Mass during Advent and Lent, and the music in the liturgy is sober and simple, and altars are not decorated with flowers, and everyone is encouraged to fast and go to Confession and do some penance in preparation for Christmas.


Thanks for joining us on this journey. If you have missed a previous Advent Inspiration, you can find all of them here.

It’s Now a Tradition

It’s now a tradition

One of the reasons we love Advent and Christmas is the family traditions, and each family has its own. The Advent Wreath, the Christmas Tree, lights in the windows and on the house, a turkey for Thanksgiving and Roast Beef for Christmas, and seven different fish on Christmas Eve.

Here at Relevant Radio we are a growing family, and it’s become a tradition now to offer you and your family Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” produced by The Merry Beggars, every single evening during Advent. It’s a story about the joy we experience when we decide to give and not count the cost. Just as Jesus did.

Scrooge starts out grumpy and nasty. By the end he’s filled with joy – laughing and singing and dancing!

You can listen to it for free, every night, at themerrybeggars.com, or on the Relevant Radio App, or wherever you get your podcasts.


Thanks for joining us on this journey. If you have missed a previous Advent Inspiration, you can find all of them here.

Advent wreath The Advent Wreath

How many candles are on an Advent Wreath?  Four.

Hi, this is Fr. Rocky with another Advent Inspiration.

There are four candles on an Advent Wreath, one for each Sunday in Advent.  Usually, three of the candles are purple and one is rose, and that’s the one for the Third Week of Advent, known as “Gaudete Sunday” – which is the Latin word for “rejoice”. On the Third Sunday of Advent, the priest can wear rose-colored vestments at Mass.

Growing up in my family, we placed the Advent Wreath on the dining room table and would light the candles during dinner each evening.  By the time we reached the fourth week of Advent and all four candles were glowing, we knew Christmas was almost here!

The evergreen leaves that make up the wreath symbolize eternal life by sanctifying grace and the light of the candles represents the light of Christ who brings hope to all who approach Him. On Christmas Day a fifth candle, a large white one, can be placed in the center and burns brightly during the entire Christmas Octave, and that’s why we call it the Christ light.


Thanks for joining us on this journey. If you have missed a previous Advent Inspiration, you can find all of them here.

Child looks at Advent calendar Make it a great Advent!

I’m happy to join you on this first day of Advent. The purpose of these daily audio clips is to inspire you and help you to prepare your heart during this beautiful Season of Advent.

If you want to have a very Merry Christmas, it starts right now by making it a great Advent!

Hi, this is Fr. Rocky with an Advent Inspiration just for you!

St. John the Baptist prepared people for the coming of Christ by calling them to conversion and repentance. Christ is coming again, this year on Christmas Day. So if you want to have a very Merry Christmas, it begins right now in Advent with personal conversion and repentance.

If you go to Confession before Christmas – and make it a really good Confession by not hiding any sins, and being truly sorry – then you will have a very Merry Christmas because the Sacrament of Confession is the Sacrament of Joy.   I know it from personal experience. There is nothing better in the world than to be in the state of grace!

If you need any help going to Confession, just go to the Relevant Radio App, and you’ll find the Confession Helper under the prayer menu on the right side.

And if you can’t remember any of your sins, just ask the people you live or work with, and they’ll tell you.

Posts about Advent

Making Space for a Silent Night - Silent night, holy night; all is calm, all is bright. Is it just me, or is this time…
Advent Resolutions - How do you feel about spoilers? Do they ruin a book or movie for you? Or does it…
In the Waiting of Advent - The Christmas lights are starting to go up in our neighborhood and the brightly lit Christmas trees are…
The Merry Beggars present “Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol” - For those who are still unfamiliar, The Merry Beggars are an audio entertainment company that functions as a…
This Advent, don’t get distracted from what really matters - In these first days of our Advent season, it’s pretty easy to get caught up in the excitement…
Christmas Entering Into Advent Hope and Christmas Joy - As we inch our way closer to Christmas, it's a good opportunity to take a moment to ponder…
Joseph and Mary Journeying to Bethlehem Journeying Through Advent with Mary - If you aren’t looking to the Blessed Mother during this season of preparation, now is the time to…
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Nativity scene with empty manger for advent Ready or Not, Here Advent Comes! - Ready or not, here it comes! Advent begins Sunday, November 29, 2020! It’s a beautiful liturgical season of…

Posts about Advent

Making Space for a Silent Night - Silent night, holy night; all is calm, all is bright.…
Advent Resolutions - How do you feel about spoilers? Do they ruin a…
In the Waiting of Advent - The Christmas lights are starting to go up in our…
The Merry Beggars present “Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol” - For those who are still unfamiliar, The Merry Beggars are…
This Advent, don’t get distracted from what really matters - In these first days of our Advent season, it’s pretty…
Christmas Entering Into Advent Hope and Christmas Joy - As we inch our way closer to Christmas, it's a…
Joseph and Mary Journeying to Bethlehem Journeying Through Advent with Mary - If you aren’t looking to the Blessed Mother during this…