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Finding Hope in Christ

What about our celebration of Christmas draws us more deeply into the Incarnation? Advent is the time when we prepare for Christmas in a physical and a spiritual manner. God will lead us out into the deep, if we let Him. Are our preparations centered on Christ or are they focused largely on external elements? Have we made a concerted effort, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to focus on waiting for Christ during Advent?

Is it the Living God we seek or merely pleasures and a type of happiness, which is a shadow of joy? The joy of Christmas is much deeper than a fleeting happiness found in a new gift. That joy awakens a thousand-fold if we spend these four weeks focusing on waiting in hope and truly walking the Christian life. In my experience, paring down the material side of Advent and Christmas greatly deepens the spiritual dimensions.

I do not spend my Advent stuck in traffic, pushed around in stores, or struggling to maintain patience in the face of widespread rudeness. In paring back, and focusing on Christ in Advent, I am more prepared for the realities offered in the mystery of Christmas. Christmas is about Him after all and not about me. This Advent let us focus on truly preparing for the coming of the Christ child and also ask God to help us grow in holiness because we do not know the hour when He will come again.

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If we enter deeper into hope and walk with Christ and His Heavenly Mother during Advent, we are better equipped to enter into joy and share that joy with others. People should be able to sense something different about us.

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They should know that we are Catholic by the way we live our lives, but do they see a difference? Can our neighbors tell we love the Lord, serve Him, and live the Catholic life fully? In reality, most of us at one point or another—myself included—must answer in the negative. If we are out shopping incessantly, focused on material possessions, and not entering into this period of waiting, then we will be no different from our culture come Christmas Eve.

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What do we want this Christmas: More things or more joy? The latter can only be found in Christ and in truly focusing our lives on him. Our culture is restless. It is enslaved by lower goods and disordered passions. We ourselves have been inundated by the consumerism and materialism of our age. We have to make a willful choice to cut back and reorient ourselves to the true meaning of the upcoming Christmas season. This is one of the purposes of Advent. It is to help us fix our gaze on Christ in hope that He will come again and that we will soon celebrate the astonishing mystery of the Incarnation.

We cannot enter into this mystery if we are distracted by worldly desires. We cannot place this world over the world to come.

Advent reminds us that this is not our home and that we can only be fulfilled through communion with the Most Holy Trinity. It is time for Catholics to live their counter-cultural mission through the life of the Church, so that all the world may be brought to Christ through the witness of our lives and by the power of the Holy Spirit. One way we do this is by living Advent and cutting back on the material aspects of our Christmas preparations. There is a lot more time for prayer and the Sacraments when we are not overwhelmed in a shopping line at countless stores.

May Our Lord guide you and me to Himself through this period of waiting in joyful hope.

Faithful. Welcoming. Transformational.

A very blessed Advent to you all. Tagged as: Advent , christmas , Culture , hope , Nativity. Constance T. Hull is a wife, mother, homeschooler, and a graduate with an M. Her desire is to live the wonder so passionately preached in the works of G. Chesterton and to share that with her daughter and others. While you can frequently find her head inside of a great work of theology or philosophy, she considers her husband and daughter to be her greatest teachers.

She is passionate about beauty, working towards holiness, the Sacraments, and all things Catholic. Michael the Archangel.

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The Wounds of Parting

By Constance T. Hull Constance T. Subscribe to CE It's free. Michael the Archangel Learning Prudence with St. Leaving the upper room, Jesus and His disciples crossed the Cedron Kidron Valley and came to a garden of olive trees on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives.

Advent: Our Hope is Not in This World

While He prayed in Gethsemane, all of the agony and sorrow of the entire world was centered in Him. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. From Christ we learn to be obedient, even when it is painful, as it was painful for Him in Gethsemane. What a glorious moment when the resurrected Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene! She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

What exceedingly great joy it must have been for Mary Magdalene to see her beloved Lord, risen from the dead.

He left Mary Magdalene and went triumphantly into the presence of His Father. Again and again I try to imagine this wondrous scene. Through His atoning sacrifice, Christ broke the bonds of death. Just as He took up His body and came forth from the tomb, even so shall all of us enjoy a reunion of body and spirit in the day of our own resurrection. Life is eternal. Families can be together forever.

The loving relationship between husband and wife and between parents and children continues beyond the grave. This will also prove true in our relationship with our beloved son Georg. All my hope is centered in Christ. He is our Savior and Redeemer. He truly is the Good Shepherd who gave His life for His sheep.