We are now in the mood of waiting in this, the first week of the Advent season. The waiting experience is not new to us because we have done a lot of it in our life. Some of it is very significant to us like waiting for one’s wedding day, an anniversary, the day of our graduation, the day of an operation, holidays, tests and exams, different kinds of parties, etc. This can also be a time to wait for the coming predicted disasters that are either man made or natural calamities. They are times of mixed feelings: from joy, excitement, thankfulness, love, hope, celebratory, to being annoyed, angry, fearful, nervous, helpless and overall feeling horrible as we see the latter in our negative imaginations, the things that we have or are yet to experience. In that waiting we can be creative in our planning and preparation until such time we achieve what we have been waiting for.
But in these particular days, what I am referring to is a very important waiting: it is the time of preparation for the Lord’s Birthday. That Child of God, the Baby Jesus, is to be born for us so let us prepare to welcome Him into our hearts. How can we do this? The Church suggests several important things to do: prayer, fasting and abstinence, and almsgiving.
We need to pray meaningfully and with purpose. We should plan to spend time to be faithful and punctual in meeting God in our personal prayer – this will give us good quality time in prayer. Oftentimes we may decide to pray for longer than what we had planned.
When we undertake fasting and abstinence, we try to obtain a deeper understanding of the one for whom we are offering this. The things that we like such as food, leisure – anything that satisfies ourselves – we may lessen or completely renounce during this period of Advent. It is for a good purpose: the coming newborn, Jesus. It will help us to focus on and grow in the spiritual aspect of our life.
Almsgiving is about charity, for example, giving your attention, offering your time to help another, showing concern for those in need. This is part of our spiritual journey to be ready to meet Jesus on the day of Christmas – you have renounced something all for the love of the Baby Jesus.
Let us be ready to joyfully welcome Jesus into our hearts as we continue to journey in faith with Him until the end of our existence. Be happy in your Advent spiritual journey.