This winter, Catholics should not just prepare with rock salt and shovels, but also begin preparing their hearts for the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Christmas is the most anticipated and illustrious time of the year, yet it is so often overlooked from the Christian perspective. All too often, the world gets caught up with the secular aspects of Christmas, in particular, purchasing gifts. It's so easy to lose track of the true meaning of Christmas, that God sent His only Son into the world to save us all from sin.
The Advent season is a great time for all Christians to prepare their hearts for Jesus. Unfortunately, the season is cluttered with shopping and waiting in checkout lines, rather than praying and waiting in line for the confessional. Presents have become such a large part of Christmas that it is easy to overlook the best gift for Christians to receive, the gift of our savior, Jesus Christ. Christmas, in a symbolic way, is a time to renew our belief in Jesus Christ and make room for Him to dwell within us. Within the Holy Eucharist, we are privileged to partake in Jesus' body and blood, but we must have room in our hearts for Him to fully dwell within us. Advent is the ideal time for Christians to thank the Lord for the greatest gift of all, by clearing out all the clutter within our hearts and giving that space back to our God.
The Lord has blessed us with so many gifts, so we must give back at Christmas. Charity certainly has become a common theme around Christmas, but we must do what we can to increase our efforts. Whether it is donating to a food bank, buying presents for an angel tree, or ringing bells for the Salvation Army, there are many different ways for Christians to get involved in charitable works around Christmas.
The Christmas Spirit that so many people cherish is fueled not only by our love for Jesus Christ, but also by our love for our neighbors. Jesus himself said, "Whatever you did for the least of my brothers, you did unto me" (Matthew 25:40). By helping our brothers and sisters in Christ, our hearts will be better prepared for the coming of our savior. Everyone is called to spread the good news and love of Christ; we must do so especially during the Christmas season.