by Victor Hoagland, C.P.
Begin with Advent, the four weeks before Christmas. It is a time of preparation, waiting and hope. The Advent liturgy resounds with the longing cries of the Hebrew prophets, the voice of Jesus, and John the Baptist's preaching that the Lord is near. Hear their message still ringing through today's dark winters. The brief meditations on the Gospels for the Sundays of Advent found in this section may help you listen to their voices.
Among the customs of Advent, the Advent wreath is probably the most important. Lighting the Advent candles each day with a prayer can prepare your household for Christmas. For children, an Advent calendar marking off the days before Christmas can be an aid for living the season.
And since Santa Claus suddenly appears everywhere at this time, why not remember the saint who is likely his original-- St. Nicholas, whose feast day is December 6th? His example of quiet, generous giving is worth recalling, especially for children.
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