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Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Christmas Spirit

Once again, we find ourselves at ‘Gaudate Sunday’; Advent is almost over, and Christmas is just around the corner. And it will bring the same old thoughts to many of our minds: “I hope it will be a good Christmas this year”, or “I hope we have a better Christmas this year than we did last year”, or “Will Christmas be as good as last year?” But what we fail to realize, is that it is not up to mere chance how good our Christmas will or won’t be. How well something (and this is especially applicable to the great feasts of the Church) comes up to our expectations depends on the quality and fullness of the preparation that we give to it. So how good Christmas is going to be this year is completely within our own hands, since if we make a good preparation for Jesus’ birthday, then He will be sure to grant us many graces, one of them most certainly being a great spiritual joy. “But”, I hear you say, “Advent is almost over, what are you telling me this now for?” In answer, it is never too late. Today begins the novena for the feast of Christmas, the nine days leading up to Christmas day. A great thing to do for these last days of Advent, is to try and spend a little more time in prayer, thinking about and contemplating with great expectation the great mystery of God made man, which is about come about before us. Now practically, what does this mean? It could mean more time spent alone on our knees before the Blessed Sacrament or in our houses before the crucifix. However, although this is undoubtedly a great thing to do, often, it is hard enough to find time in the day for the little bit of prayer that is managed each day, and beside, Christ’s command was to pray always, and it is certainly not possible to spend ones entire life kneeling in prayer. Therefore if there is no time do devote solely to prayer, we must fit some prayer in while we’re working. During jobs which do no require us to focus all our attention on them, why not call to mind the mystery of the Incarnation, or some other aspect of our good Lord’s coming into this world, for example, the different virtues that He practiced in the stable at Bethlehem: His poverty, His silence, His spirit of prayer, His humility etc, or else simply repeat the holy names of Jesus and Mary – if possible you could count them on your beads, so that it demands even less attention, and thus makes it easier to do at the same time as something else. In this way, we can try and keep in our mind the upcoming feast of Christmas. We must remember that it is morally impossible for him to be saved who does not pray. Therefore, it is just a case of working out how to fit this prayer into our often busy and hectic daily lives.

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