Last night, as we unpacked the nativities--we have eight--the kids were so excited. I always enjoy how much they enjoy the nativities. If you do not have a child safe nativity, I strongly encourage you to buy or make one. It truly helps build the anticipation and keep their focus on Christ.
As many of us wrap up our shopping online (remember to check Ebates for some amazing cash back offers!), at local stores, Catholic shops and cloistered, or at the mall; we must remember what it is that we are truly seeking. Like the Wise men following the star, we are on a journey to the spot where the star comes to rest Christmas Eve. The glitz and glitter of commercial Christmas can easily obscure our vision or mislead us completely. However, if we continue to travel through the cold and wind, the weariness that often sets in, and even the lonely passages, we will be rewarded with the greatest gift of all time, a gift so special that it could not just be laid beneath a tree but was fastened to the cruelest of trees and raised above the whole world to be worshipped and adore.
Be sure to pick a special devotion to take up this Advent. Often, we think only of Lent as a time of growth and change, but Advent is that and more. We must prepare our hearts and souls to kneel in the humble cave of Bethlehem before we can climb the jagged cliff of Golgatha. Pray the St Andrew's Novena, add a family prayer time to your day, dust off your Bible and dive into Luke or Isaiah or wherever the Spirit leads you. Like the expectant months of pregnancy, May this be a time of stretching, growing, changing, and new life.
Lastly, remember to give, not just in present and packages to family and friends, but in ways that can never be repaid. Lay yourself down for another. Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, take up the challenge, pick one or more of your favorite charities, give a gift from your heart not just your excess, then share your experience and encourage others to give. If you are having trouble finding that blessed Christmas Spirit, the excited anticipation, the love, hope, and joy of the season, do not head to your nearest mall, give of yourself because it is emptying ourselves that we are truly filled.
If you are looking for an on going giving for the season, consider completing a 40 bags in 40 days challenge for the Advent and Christmas seasons. Looking the bonds of stuff, will truly set you free. Give it a try!
What's your favorite charity?
I'm linking up with Catholic Bloggers, be sure to hop over there for beautiful posts of Advent goodness! Have a blessed day, Our LORD is on His way!