Advent 2019: Returning to Bethlehem
The Advent season provides an opportunity to pause and reflect on the central moment in history when God took on our flesh and began to walk among us. It is a time to ready ourselves for our eventual meeting with the very person whom we are awaiting and trying to imitate, our Lord Jesus Christ.
In recent years, the celebration of Christmas has become increasingly secularized and consumer-driven, taking away from the spiritual nature of the season. Saint Josemaria reminds us that Advent is “a marvelous time in which to renew your desire, your nostalgia, your real longing for Christ to come––for him to come every day to your soul in the Eucharist. The Church encourages us: He is about to arrive!” (The Forge, no. 548).
This Advent season, how are you going to renew your desire to welcome Christ? How will you welcome Christ into your family? Into your work place? Into your community of peers?
The St. Josemaria Institute is pleased to share our 2019 Advent Devotional as a companion to your spiritual journey this Advent season. It is our hope that this resource will help you reflect on the beauty and mystery of Christmas in an intimate and personal way. We encourage you to not simply use these reflections in such a way that it becomes another task as you prepare to celebrate Christmas. This season, create opportunities to slow down and dwell on the richness of the faith. Allow these meditations to serve as nourishment for not only this Advent season but also as you celebrate the Christmas season and the New Year 2020.
Together let’s make this Advent a prayerful and peaceful time of preparation to welcome our King and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Christmas Day!
Follow us on social media @stjosemariainst for our daily Advent reflections inspired by the writings of St Josemaria Escriva.
DEVOTIONALS & BLESSINGS FOR ADVENT
Blessings (also referred to as sacramentals) prepare us to receive the grace of the sacraments and help us to grow to be more like Christ. Blessings consist of prayer, Scripture, and sometimes a special ritual sign. Although people are accustomed to seeing priests and deacons bless objects or persons in the name of Christ, there are certain blessings that can be prayed by anyone who has been baptized. (USCCB)
The following links are blessings that reflect the spiritual traditions of the Advent season:
THE FIRST WEEK OF ADVENT
Podcast: God Goes Ordinary
- What steps can you take to practice the presence of God and to seek holiness in the ordinary moments of everyday life?
- Why do you seek to live in the Lord’s presence? What do you hope to gain from your relationship with Christ?
- How can you bring the love of Christ into your family? Into the workplace? Into your community of peers?
THE SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT
Article: Returning to Bethlehem
Podcast: The Joy of Encountering Christ
- How vigilantly are you awaiting the Lord?
- Where are you in relation to Bethlehem? Are you present in the manger scene or are you still following the star?
- What do you need to “make straight” along your path of life to journey directly to Bethlehem?
- How can you prepare to meet Christ now at Christmas and at the Second Coming?
THE THIRD WEEK OF ADVENT
Article: For the Sake of Joy
Podcast: Gateway to Joy
- When you seek happiness in this life, what is it that you truly desire?
- How do you approach suffering and self-denial as a way of embracing the love of Christ?
- What keeps you from obtaining true joy in the Lord?
THE FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT
Article: The Ways of God
Podcast: Becoming Bethlehem
- Who in your life do you need to reconcile with so that you may be fully reconciled with God?
- Have you reconciled with the actions of your past so that you can say yes to God in the present moment?
- Has your preparation this Advent season prepared you to meet Christ?
- Are you ready to say yes to God however he comes?