No, seriously, what are you giving up?
Father Robert Barron’s first Advent reflection that came out today reminds us that Advent is a penitential season as Lent is. That we need our Savior because we indeed need to be saved from something, mostly ourselves, but from lots of things.
Every Lent I am reminded either by a priest’s homily or a blog post or reflection that Lent should be a time of joyful anticipation, I’m pretty sure this the first time I’ve heard a priest tell me we need to reflect on our sinfulness as we await the birth of our Lord and Savior.
And yet, it’s so refreshing. It’s a reminder to me to do Advent right. To prepare my heart and mind, to help my children prepare theirs. It’s also fitting as we partook of spiritual Communion this morning as a certain child was at my bedside at 5 AM telling me he was going to throw up (thankfully, he didn’t but it was a tense next four hours of sipping ginger ale and burping) and when I woke up I woke up to the shock of a migraine the likes of which I haven’t had in some time. The kid didn’t throw up, but guess who did…
Anyway, I’m giving some stuff up this Advent. It’s kind of between me and God but I think this fasting will be awesome for me to grow in my faith and dependence on Him. Don’t get me wrong, it will suck royally at times, but it will be awesome too.
And, depending on how it goes this year, I may make everyone else give up something next year (I’m pretty sure that will be loads of fun). Actually, we have done well so far, despite pressure from neighbors and friends, we’ve stayed strong on not getting bogged down in decorating and while I did listen to some Christmas music for about an hour last week in an attempt to break out of a funk, we haven’t tuned into the all Christmas all the time station. And we aren’t as concerned, in general, with the material aspects of the holiday season and are talking openly and happily about the birth of Jesus.
So, yeah, who is going to join me and give up something for Advent? It doesn’t have to be something major. Maybe you’re not going to go all judgy on the neighbors who have a light spectacular already going. Maybe you’re going to read one chapter of a book of the Bible daily. Maybe you’re going to make it to Confession twice this month. Or not put sugar in your tea or coffee. Lots of options for penance and growing closer to our Lord and Savior this Advent season, let’s embrace them!