Even among the best of us, the penitential aspects of Advent tend to get lost amid the shopping, parties and winter revelry.

Our inner preparation for the Christ Child’s coming at Christmas — and for Christ’s second coming at the end of time — is not something we should allow to fade into the background.

And although pre-Christmas hope and joy shouldn’t be discounted, it’s still a good time for us to reflect upon the impact of Christ’s incarnation and what it means for us and the world.

Just as we do during the more prominent penitential season of Lent, we should take the time to perform a “spiritual housecleaning” now, as we begin a new year in the Church.

Many of us make New Year’s resolutions at the start of a calendar year. Why not a “New Church Year’s Resolution”? Contemplate the following: How have I grown closer to God this year? How have I fallen short in that pursuit? What are the spiritual holes I need to fill in to increase my sanctity and that of those whom I love? What are the graces I need to expand upon to increase my holiness?

May we all take the time during Advent to wash out the spiritual dirt and decay and scrub our souls clean for the arrival of Christ, this Christmas and at the Second Coming.

God bless you!