Next Sunday, December 2, is the First Sunday of Advent. In our fast-paced, consumer driven society, Advent usually takes a back seat. Christmas decorations appear right after Halloween. The media lets us know how “successful” Christmas is each year by the amount of money people spend. In fact, many Christians aren’t sure what Advent is. For an entertaining and clever crash course in Advent, watch Advent in 2 Minutes by our friends at Busted Halo. You’ll never hear The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy again without thinking of Advent! This is one of my favorite lines from the video: “Remember, Advent is not about shopping, stressing, planning or buying. Advent is about expecting, waiting, hoping and praying.”

Why not make time over the next few days to think about how you will enter into the Advent season?It may be as simple as reading the daily Gospel or making an Advent wreath for your kitchen table. Or you might like to browse my two personal favorite sites Loyola Press or Creighton Online Ministries for free Advent resources such as retreats, articles, activities, and other prayer experiences.

The Church offers us the gift of the Advent season as a way to deepen our knowledge and love of Jesus, God’s gift to the world. Try to set aside some time each day this month to unwrap this gift and delve more deeply into the mystery of Emmanuel, God-with-us. Check back here each week for more Advent resources and reflections. If you know of additional resources, be sure to share them in the Comment Box.