The first Sunday of Advent is December 3.
I don’t know about you, but planning is key when it comes to liturgical living in my life. By taking the time to prepare for the Advent season, we can experience this time of hopeful anticipation in a meaningful way.
According to the USCCB,
“The Advent season is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time and to the anniversary of Our Lord’s birth on Christmas.”
Furthermore, participating fully in the Advent season can help make the Christmas season more special.
Here are seven ways to make this your best Advent ever:
1. Go to Confession
Confession is always a good idea.
Confession before the liturgical season of Advent seems like a no-brainer!
Before Advent begins, visit Our Lord in the sacrament of Confession. This allows a clean slate as you begin this period of growing in your faith.
2. Embrace Advent Traditions
Traditions like the Advent wreath, Advent calendar, Jesse Tree, and more, are full of symbolism! They offer routine reminders of the true meaning of Christmas and provide space for special prayer and devotion.
You can view a short list of Advent calendar options here. Some even come as free downloads!
3. Consider the Works of Mercy
Plan on participating in one or more corporal or spiritual works of mercy this season.
There are many opportunities at your parish or community this time of year.
Saint Teresa of Kolkata gives some perspective on what this may look like in our lives:
“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the action that we do. […] I want you to find the poor here, right in your own home first. And begin love there.”
4. Reconcile with Others
'Tis the season to practice forgiveness and compassion.
If you struggle with past hurts, try this powerful prayer.
5. Pray the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena
This powerful novena is unlike any other! It begins on November 30th and ends on Christmas Day.
You can find a how-to guide here.
6. Celebrate Liturgical Feasts
There are so many special feast days during the Advent season. Many of them have their own traditions and ways to grow closer to Christ during the festivities.
Here is a glimpse of the feast day calendar for Advent:
December 6 – Saint Nicholas
December 8 – Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
December 12 – Our Lady of Guadalupe
December 13 – Saint Lucy
7. Be Realistic
Set yourself up for success by being realistic about your liturgical living goals this year. Sometimes, our season of life may call for some adjustments, which is okay! Ultimately, the Lord just wants room in your heart.