This year, the first Sunday of Advent came right on the heels of Thanksgiving.
If you’re anything like us, you might have a bit of holiday whiplash: pulling out your purple Advent candles just as you’re packing away the turkey and cranberry sauce. But we don’t want to get too far into this new liturgical year without taking a moment to acknowledge all the blessings we’ve received this past year.
DeSales has enjoyed exciting growth this year, and we’re grateful to all our clients and partners. We believe wholeheartedly in what we do here, and we’re grateful to collaborate with so many talented and mission-oriented professionals.
We’re excited and grateful for the growth on the horizon. By next Advent, we look forward to being in our brand-new, state-of-the-art building!
We’re all busy people, and Advent is a four-week sprint at one of the busiest times of the year. What are simple ways we can observe Advent?
Countdown with an Advent Calendar
Turn the countdown to Christmas into a spiritual practice with digital advent calendars like the University of Notre Dame’s or Word on Fire’s. Or buy a physical calendar for your home—something that’s spiritual or celebratory! Turn on some Advent tunes and soak up the building anticipation.
Acknowledge the Darkness/Find the Light
During these darkest months of the year, Christians await the advent of the Christ, the light who dispels all darkness. So we don’t need to be afraid of darkness, as this recent New York Times Op-Ed proclaimed. The moments in which you’re overwhelmed and discouraged are exactly the spaces Christ wants to enter. Don’t put pressure on yourself to have “the best Advent ever”! Let God come to you exactly where you are.
Walk with Mary
Advent is a season in which we walk Mary’s journey, as we wait for the Christ Child to be born. Pray the Rosary, or the Angelus, to meditate on Mary’s role in the Christmas story. Or pick up a book by Caryll Houselander or Fulton Sheen to dive more deeply into the mystery of Mary. Celebrate the Marian feasts during this season: Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Make Room for Silence
“Let every heart prepare him room” the Christmas Carol sings. Make space for Christ not only in your house or under your tree, but in your mind. Set aside time without technology, find time to meditate with Scripture in the morning, or wind down before bed reading the advent reflections of British Carmelite Caryll Houselander or Franciscan Richard Rohr.
Put up a Nativity Scene
Yesterday, Pope Francis kicked off the Advent Season by issuing an Apostolic letter “Admirabile Signum”, which encourages Christians all over the world to set up Christmas Crèches. The pope’s namesake, Francis of Assisi, started this tradition in his native Italy, which has created some of the most famous nativity scenes. From the glowing plastic figures of front-yard scenes to smaller, handmade tableaux, Nativity Scenes remind “of the love of God, the God who became a child in order to make us know how close he is to every man, woman, and child, regardless of their condition” (AS, §10).
We hope that for each of you these four short weeks before Christmas Eve are filled with peace amidst the holiday chaos and light in the darkness of winter. This Advent, DeSales is partnering with Aid to the Church in Need to spread awareness of persecuted Christians throughout the world through the Red Ribbon Sunday initiative. Join us in praying for and supporting our brothers and sisters who shine the light of faith in the darkness. And know of our prayers and gratitude for you!