The Verrets are founders of Witness to Love: Marriage Preparation Renewal Ministry and co-authors of the handbook for mentor couples Witness to Love: How to Help the Next Generation of Marriages Survive and Thrive, published by St. Benedict Press, August, 2015.
Advent is a time that includes so many beautiful traditions and pieties to help provoke a melting of our hard and grimy hearts before the baby Jesus comes anew on Christmas Day. These traditions can weigh us down instead of lifting us up if we do not have the right spirit.
Simplicity is everything, and being attuned to the state in life that you are in is a key discernment. With four kids under eight years old, we do the paper Advent calendar with the Bible verses, a fun sparkly felt Advent wreath that we got at EWTN and has candles that Velcro on. We light one candle up high where no one can touch it, and we sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” by candlelight. We sit for a few seconds of almost silence and ponder the mystery of God becoming a little baby in our dark world. Silence is the most important thing you can “do” for Advent.
Silence is not really a doing but a “being” so that Christ can do. Taking just five minutes of reflection on what is keeping us from allowing Christ to draw closer to us is all that is needed. Observing that intentional time of silence every day during Advent is a time to pry open the rusty, dragging doors of our heart and allow the tender fire of the Christ Child to clean and renew our hearts.
Ultimately it is not you or I who can clean the filth from every corner of our hearts. Only Jesus can. Waiting to open the doors of your heart until it’s spotless will prevent those doors from ever fully opening. Let Christ in and let the love of this tender child cleanse the miserly temple of your heart. Let the Christ Child take your face in his hands and hold you next to his Sacred Heart.
Spend 5, 10, or 30 minutes in silence every day asking Christ to prepare your heart and ask Him to reveal to you what is standing in the way of the door opening fully this Christmas. In this silence on Christmas Day, the Christ Child will come to you and He will find room at the inn.
Don’t be a Scrooge this Advent. Tiny Tim represents the Christ Child. Who is there who wouldn’t love him and who would wait for everything to be perfect to welcome him in? How is Christ coming to you this Christmas and how can you prepare for him in these last few days of Advent?