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Preparing Simply

First Reading: Jeremiah 33:14-16

The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will fulfill the promise
I made to the house of Israel and Judah.
In those days, in that time,
I will raise up for David a just shoot ;
he shall do what is right and just in the land.
In those days Judah shall be safe
and Jerusalem shall dwell secure;
this is what they shall call her:
“The LORD our justice.”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
R. (1b) To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior,
and for you I wait all the day.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
and teaches the humble his way.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him,
and his covenant, for their instruction.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.

Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
Brothers and sisters:
May the Lord make you increase and abound in love
for one another and for all,
just as we have for you,
so as to strengthen your hearts,
to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.Finally, brothers and sisters,
we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that,
as you received from us
how you should conduct yourselves to please God
and as you are conducting yourselves
you do so even more.
For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

Gospel: Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Jesus said to his disciples:
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.”

NAB

nov 29

I just love the holiday season, especially Christmas! About mid-September I begin to look forward to all the delights of the season, such as the smell of Christmas trees and the sight of twinkling lights. I love the sound of Christmas carols, the taste of hot cocoa on a cold evening and the feeling that people, in general, are a little kinder, more generous, and filled with Christmas cheer.

However, before I get too sentimental, today’s reading is a sober reminder that while the joys of the season are good, there is a deeper meaning to it. It is especially fitting that we reflect on this as we begin this Advent season.

I don’t know about you, but there have been far too many Advents where I start out of the gate strong with a long list of things that will make this the best Advent ever. I make promises not to get caught up in the commercialism and busyness of the season and instead prepare my heart for the coming of the Christ Child. But somehow, as the weeks pass by the “anxieties of daily life” take over and I’m stressing like a mad woman as it gets closer to December 25th. Can you relate?

Maybe some holiday stress is inevitable, but Our Lord’s words keep echoing in my mind. Be prepared. Be vigilant. So what can we do this Advent season to prepare our hearts for God? How can we be vigilant to not let the anxieties of the season choke us?

Let’s simplify. Instead of a long spiritual To Do list pick one thing that is easy enough for you to actually accomplish but meaningful enough to turn your heart back to God. Maybe go to one extra weekday Mass or pray the rosary (or a decade) or add a daily 5-minute midday prayer for a spiritual boost. Then choose one of two stressful Christmas customs that you will skip this Advent. The world won’t end if you don’t send out Christmas cards or if you buy cookies instead of baking them or if you cut your Christmas shopping list in half.

God’s desire is for your heart to be humble and open to receive your Savior. In the end, that is all that really matters.

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what you should do (or not do) to make this Advent a time of preparation for the coming of Christ.

photo by Edenn Yorks

Bobbi Rol is a wife, a mama of four and a blogger learning to love God in the midst of dishes, laundry and swinging light sabers. You can find out more about her here.

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