--Blessed John Paul II
The world gets very loud at this time of year. Lights flash, music blares, and commercials scream at us that we are lacking the material goods necessary for true happiness. The Church offers an oasis of calm. It is Advent. Advent lets us turn away from the dizzying sparkle of tinsel and lights and bask in the soft glow of candles. Through prayers proclaimed around the Advent wreath we rededicate ourselves and our families to holiness. We clothe ourselves in the purple of penitence, acknowledging our sinfulness but confident that with God's grace we can hope for our conversion. We await the coming of Jesus, not only as the Holy Infant, but as the King of Kings at the end of time. Our anticipation and joy overflows on Gaudete Sunday when we cast off the purple and wrap ourselves in hues of rose. We then return to our purple world with renewed vigor. We offer more prayers and give one final push towards conversion to a life of holiness. We may not be perfect when we greet Christ on Christmas morning, but we will be better than we were when Advent began.
So let every gift purchased, every card written, and every cookie baked be a prayer. If it does not lead you to holiness, it does not belong in Advent. Let the quiet rhythm of this liturgical season carry you to the real joy of Christmas.