During December people spend a lot of time preparing for Christmas by decorating their homes and getting caught up in the busyness and commercialization of the season. The many demands we face tend to distract us from the real purpose of this beautiful holiday . . . the birth of Jesus.
We spend an inordinate amount of time on the physical preparation but in many cases little time is spent in spiritual preparation for that holy day. This is why the Church has given us Advent (which means coming} allowing us time to prepare well for Christmas. Given the busyness of the season we need to carve out time to be silent and reflect.
Fr. Brian Mullady offers this advice… “a healthy Advent preparation of soul involves the desire to root out faults and the desire to grow in virtue.” He compares this to cleaning the house for a Christmas party. Good Christmas preparation, therefore, demands a realistic examination of conscience and confession of sins.
He goes on to say that along with confession, preparing our souls properly, also entails a deliberate pursuit of the virtues. In his Introduction to the Devout Life, St. Francis DeSales advises us to look for opportunities to practice generosity, humility, moderation, and fortitude.
Christ received a cold reception when he came into the world 2,000 years ago. There was no room in the inn for him. What kind of reception will he find in our hearts this Christmas? Will he find a warm, inviting place to be born? Or one filled with materialism and distraction with no room for him?