"Jingle Bells, bad men smells..."
"Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer, had a very shiny nose ..."
"Deck the Halls with boughs of Holly ..."
"Santa Claus is coming to town ..."
It's the time of the year, when you walk into anything, be it a shopping centre, a simple shop, a supermarket, a bookstore, a cafe, even the library, and everywhere and everything reminds you that Christmas is near.
They implore you to "buy this, get this free, eat this, get this free, hear this, sing this, get this, get that, you will feel better." They impound on all your senses, play and entice with your feelings, engaging all your senses, all, just to make that "penance/sacrifice", that kind of "penance/sacrifice" that makes a hole in your pocket. (eeks)
And all this, for what? For the sake of preparing for Christmas ...
I am not saying that shopping, buying Christmas presents for your loved ones, preparing materiel-ly for Christmas, is wrong or is bad, but I am trying to say that, amidst all this valid Christmas preparation, there is this other kind of preparation, the spiritual one, that we must go through.
This other kind of preparation involves prayer, sacrifice, penance, prayer, sacrifice and penance... in the hope & spirit of Christmas, the birth of little baby Jesus.
And thus, as we turn our thoughts to the true meaning of Christmas, our thoughts, directed towards the expected second coming of Christ, for the 1st Sunday of Advent, I light the candle, on our online Advent wreath.
FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
From "The Saint Andrew Daily Missal" (1937)
At Christmas Jesus will be born in our hearts, for at that time the anniversary of His birth will be celebrated. He refuses nothing, to the prayer of the Church, His spouse, and thus He will grant to our souls the same graces which He gave the shepherds and the wise Kings.
Christ will come again also, at the end of all time, to "condemn the guilty to the flames, and to call the just with a loving voice to heaven" (Hymn for Matins).
The whole of to-day's mass is a preparation for this double Advent of mercy and justice. Some parts of it can be applied equally to either (e.g., the Introit, Collect, Gradual, Alleluia), while others refer to our Divine Redeemer's lowly birth, and others again, (e.g. the Epistle and Gospel), to His coming in the splendour of His power and majesty. The same welcome will be given to us by our Lord when He comes to judge us, as we give to Him now when coming to redeem us. Let us prepare for the Christmas feast by holy prayers and aspirations and by reforming our lives, that we may be ready for that last great assize upon which depends the fate of our soul for all eternity. And all this with confidence, for those "who wait upon the Lord will never be confounded" (Introit ; Gradual ; Offertory).
In former times, on this First Sunday of Advent, all the people of Rome made the station at the Basilica of St. Mary Major, to assist at the solemn mass which the Pope celebrated, surrounded by his clergy. This particular Church was chosen because it is Mary who gave us Jesus and because relics of the crib in which the Blessed Mother placed her Divine Child are preserved in this Church.
Prayer to Obtain Favors
Hail and blessed be the hour
And moment in which the Son of God
Was born of the most pure Virgin Mary,
At midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe, O my God,
To hear my prayer and grant my desires,
Through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ,
And of His Blessed Mother. Amen
(To be recited fifteen times a day from the Feast
of St. Andrew (30th of Nov.) until Christmas)
Jesus, Mary, I love You; Save Souls!