Seven tips for remembering that it’s still Advent

Music, presents, lights, snow, cookies. Gaudete Sunday, rejoicing, joy, hope. Perspective is key as we enter into the last full week of Advent. Our theme this week is mindful living. It is about slowing down and deliberately preparing for Jesus’ coming.

We may not be buying into our culture’s commercialized Christmas, but we can still lose sight of what we are preparing for. As important as family is and as beautiful as gift giving can be, if we neglect the core of Christmas, we miss out — in a big way.

As Emily Stimpson notes in her recent In Focus article, “Rediscovering Christmas Joy”
“as lovely, delicious, delightful, fun and downright magical as the trappings of Christmas can be, however, they remain just that: trappings. They are wonderful extras, the icing on the holiday cake. But they are not the essentials. They are not the reason angels went around Judea 2,000 years ago telling Levitical priests, virgins and shepherds to rejoice (Lk 1:14, 28; 2:10).”

As Christmas draws near and stress builds, take a moment to remember what Christmas is and who you want the Lord to find when he comes. Here are seven ways to live mindfully this week:
  1. Devote 5-10 minutes each day to private prayer
  2. Continue (or start — it is never too late) to light the Advent wreath each day and recite a prayer
  3. Go to confession
  4. Listen to Advent music and save Christmas music for the Christmas season
  5. Meditate on the Incarnation
  6. Read the daily Mass readings
  7. Read these two In Focus articles: “Rediscovering Christmas Joy” and “This Advent, stop the clock”

Have a blessed week. As philosopher and priest Blessed Antonio Rosmini-Serbati said on his deathbed: “Adore. Be silent. Rejoice!"

Jennifer Rey is the web editor of Our Sunday Visitor Publishing.