Only a saint could maintain the patience needed to confront Christmas shopping, Christmas stress, and Christmas credit card bills. That's too bad because something else gets overlooked in the rush—and that's Advent. So here are a few brief ways to enjoy yourself over the next few weeks.
First of all, get to know Advent. This liturgical season is a time of waiting—something that we all do: we're waiting for some good news, for a better job, or for our lives to improve. Advent is a time when we think about waiting for God, so it fits in perfectly with our natural human longings. “Come, thou long expected Jesus,” as the hymn goes. Advent is also the time of beautiful Scripture readings, like those from the Book of Isaiah. “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom.” These are readings to give all of us hope! And Advent is the season for beloved church traditions, including the Advent wreath, which can easily be translated into home rituals.
Second, cut back on the craziness of Christmas preparations. Here are just a few suggestions: send cards only to close friends and family; drop one present per person from your list; and go only to the most essential holiday gatherings. Does that sound selfish? It's just the opposite! It will give you time to spend with those you really love, and more time to spend in prayer.
Maybe Advent is when you can really settle into your spiritual life, by finding joy in the season and less stress in Christmas. In short, Advent may be the time that you've been waiting for!
Books by James Martin, SJ
Seven Days at the Grotto of Massabieille
Fr. Martin's illuminating and humorous account of seven busy and gratifying days at Lourdes is a vivid description of a place with a special, mysterious spiritual presence.
A Jesuit Off-Broadway
Center Stage with Jesus, Judas, and Life's Big Questions
Theater and theology share the stage in Fr. James Martin’s A Jesuit Off-Broadway, the true story about the making of a celebrated play.
Awake My Soul
Contemporary Catholics on Traditional Devotions
A contemporary look at traditional devotions from well-known Catholic writers.
Praying with America
100 Years of Encountering God in Prayer with America Magazine
Praying with America presents and celebrates the diversity of prayer over the past century and offers readers the wisdom and inspiration of leading Catholic thinkers on the practice of prayer.
Who Cares About the Saints?
Let James Martin, SJ author of the bestselling book My Life with the Saints introduce you to his favorite Catholic saints in this exciting new saints DVD.
A Jesuit Off-Broadway
Behind the Scenes with Faith, Doubt, Forgiveness, and More
An Off-Broadway cast has plenty of questions about life and faith - and Fr. James Martin, author of My Life with the Saints, is just the right person to offer some answers in A Jesuit Off-Broadway.
Mi vida con los santos
En Mi vida con los Santos James Martin nos presenta una conmovedora experiencia respect a su relación con los Santos –desde María, la madre de Jesús, hasta San Francisco o la Madre Teresa- y la manera personal en la que ha side dirigido por los heroes de la Iglesia a lo largo de toda su vida.