The weeks leading up to Christmas are often an exciting time. For many of us, these weeks are a whirlwind of putting up decorations, watching our favorite Christmas movies, listening to Christmas music, shopping, wrapping presents, and spending time with family. However, as Catholics, these weeks mean much more than all those physical things that we do. They mark the beginning of our liturgical year with the season of Advent. During Advent, we should strive to slow down and enter into the season intentionally because it gives us a chance to grow and prepare ourselves spiritually.
Here at All Saints, there are many ways to get involved and enter into the Advent season with the rest of the parish community. Some of the events taking place during Advent this year include the St. Nick’s Christmas Party, Parish Mission with Ali Hoffman, Light up for Christ – lighting of the Christmas star outside, the Festival of Lessons and Carols, the Christmas pageant, and Reconciliation services.
“I always try to make the most of the season and the various events going on at the parish,” says Andrew Darling, Director of Communications. “In particular, I like to attend daily Mass when I can throughout Advent in order to more intentionally prepare for Christmas. For me, Advent has always been a time of transition — plans are being made, the calendar year is ending, and time is being taken off work. Spiritually, I always appreciate these changes, as they remind me to take time out of my regular schedule to pray and reflect on my relationship with Jesus, and how I can grow closer to Him.”
In addition to the events taking place, there are many service opportunities throughout the season of Advent as well. The Caring Trees, set up in the atrium and narthex, will be covered with cards listing items needed for local charities. Parishioners are invited to pick up a card and bring back the items by Dec. 10. Additionally, Help Your Neighbor Sunday will take place on Dec. 3, and there will be a Vision Foodshare collection on Dec. 10. Volunteers will also be needed for the Vision Foodshare Distribution on Saturday, Dec. 16.
“God often prefers to prepare His people in order to receive His blessings more fully,” Andrew says. “God prefers to prepare people to receive grace, and Advent is precisely that period of time for us. We are prepared to receive the graces of Christmas more fully.”
Getting involved in the different events and volunteer opportunities is a big way that you can be intentional this Advent season, as you prepare yourself and your family for the coming celebration of Christmas.
For more information about Advent opportunities at All Saints, contact the Parish Office at 972-778-0301.