WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF WE DID THINGS DIFFERENTLY?
Next weekend we begin our Advent journey which calls us to make straight the pathways for the Lord. What will we do differently to make sure this season of preparation really changes our lives?
Last weekend, at my Masses, I told people that Christmas was just around the corner and that we need to prepare. At both Masses there was a sigh and a groan. It was a clear indication that no one was looking forward to Christmas. This made me a bit disappointed. Have we lost our view and perspective on the impact of our salvation? Of the Word made flesh? The coming of our Lord and Saviour? I think there definitely needs to be a new and different approach to Advent and Christmas to re-ignite the joy, love and faith of the season. Jesus comes to us and we should be rejoicing!!!
WHAT IF WE TOOK TIME TO DIVE INTO THE FAITH OF ADVENT?
This Advent season we have a number of different opportunities to change our perspective, approach and experience to make sure that we draw close to Jesus, the true meaning of the season and the hope that is fulfilled. We need to dive into Advent with both feet and take the time to open our hearts. Here are a few of the opportunities that can change your Christmas and your life!!!
1) ADVENT PARISH MISSION – From December 1st to 3rd we are hosting our annual Advent Parish Mission with Deacon Brian McDonald (from St. Peter’s Parish, Goderich) and our very own Julian Paparella. Deacon Brian will be preaching at the weekend Masses and Sunday night of the mission while Julian will lead the Monday evening. We will have receptions both nights and will have babysitting available. Take time to slow down, relax and pray a bit during Advent.
2) LIGHT UP FOR CHRIST – This annual family event takes place on Thursday December 6th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. The night includes a free dinner for all, the lighting of the parish Christmas lights, the singing of carols, and ending with hot chocolate and cookies.
3) ADVENT CONFESSIONS – Advent is a time to make straight the path for Christ. Jesus seeks to enter into our hearts. The most powerful way to do that is through the Sacrament of Peace. There are lots of chances in the Advent season to go to confession. The light will always be on and don’t be afraid, this mighty sacrament is one of love, mercy, forgiveness and grace. If you haven’t been in a long time, just let us know and we will welcome you back with a smile. It is a place of healing. What if we all tried to let go of our pasts and washed away our sins?
5) HOLY HOUR – Come and spend an hour before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament at our monthly holy hour. It is a great time of peace, quiet and reflection. If you have never attended before, this is something you don’t want to miss. There is nothing more pure and powerful than to gaze upon Jesus, our Lord and Master. Slow down, take a break and make room for Christ. He will enrich your life!!!
6) SANTA @ ST. GEORGE – Bring the entire family to the parish on Sunday December 16th from 12 noon to 1:15 pm. and talk to Santa. He will be here to help us prepare for the birth of Jesus. Enjoy some hot chocolate and snacks preparing for the gift of Christmas.
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF WE DID ALL THESE THINGS?
I think if trusted in the Lord and participated in most or all of these events, we would realize that we have been caught up in the wrong part of Christmas. I think we would realize that Jesus truly loves us and that our lives are most happy, most fulfilled and most impactful in the world when we place our faith at the centre of our lives.
There is no question that Advent/Christmas is very busy and often times it completely drains us. If this is the case, we need to change our approach so that we can enjoy, celebrate and be energized. The only way for that to take place is to focus on what is most important. OUR FAITH, OUR FAMILY and REACHING OUT TO THOSE IN NEED. Christmas is the story of love — not for ourselves but the story of self-sacrifice and service for others. It is a story of humility, poverty and God’s light in the midst of darkness.
I invite everyone to dive in, try something new and draw close to Jesus through the many opportunities we have here at St. George to get ready, get energized and praise our God for his love for us. Christmas is indeed a time of celebration and rejoicing!!!
Happy Advent!! Fr. John