Keeping Focused This Advent

Advent wreath

Ah, it’s Advent. I don’t know about you, but it sometimes looks as though Christmas is already here, with all the Christmas sales and all the holiday decorations. As I sat in the pew on Sunday, I kept thinking about all the shopping I still had to do—there are only so many shopping days left before Christmas!

I hope we’ll all be able to refocus now on our Advent journey. The craziness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us. That being said, it certainly is easy to get caught up in the commercialism and hype of Christmas. Yes, even we who should know better. Maybe more than a few of us were standing in a line somewhere Thanksgiving night, hoping for bargains.

Even when money is tight, I would suggest bargains aren’t really what we should be looking for. In fact, it’s not a what, but a Who, we are seeking—Emmanuel, God with us. These days of Advent aren’t so much about buying presents, but rather they should help us focus on the day we encounter the true Presence, the One who is the Light of the World.

One of our key tasks as catechetical leaders is to point people to Christ. It is to remind people that Christmas is not so much about the presents under the tree as it is about the One who came among us so that we could be one with Him forever. If we spend the upcoming weeks reminding ourselves and those around us about this fact, then our Advent will bear much fruit.

Several years ago, I asked our office helper to put up an Advent bulletin board outside our office. When I came back a bit later, she had chosen fire engine red and hunter green as the background colors. I felt bad telling her that we needed to start over, instead focusing on Advent instead of Christmas. This experience reminded me that everyone can use a little help to better understand the importance of not rushing through this wonderful season.

What kinds of things do you do to help those who have been entrusted to your care develop an appreciation for Advent?

If you’re looking for a way to keep your focus on Advent, it’s not too late to join in Advent Moments of Mercy.

About Paul Gallagher 18 Articles
Paul Gallagher is an Educational Consultant at Loyola Press. Previously, he was the DRE at St. John Catholic Church in Westminster, MD, for over 10 years. Deeply rooted in Ignatian spirituality, Paul blogs about transformation and taking care of ourselves, body, mind, and spirit at
Contact: Website

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