Let me begin my column by asking this question to you all, are we really preparing interiorly and exteriorly to receive Jesus during this Christmas? I would like to encourage you to prepare always your soul and body by actions and words to welcome Our Savior Jesus. The word Advent comes from the Latin word “adventus” which means ‘arrival’ or ‘coming’. I read on a website this beautiful sentence: “For Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from three different perspectives. Philip H. Pfatteicher, formerly a professor at East Stroudsberg University, notes that “since the time of Bernard of Clairvaux (1153), Christians have spoken of the three comings of Christ: in the flesh in Bethlehem, in our hearts daily, and in glory at the end of time”. Celebrating Advent involves spending time in spiritual preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ.  It’s a time where God hopes to emerge in our lives, especially in those times when we are distracted. The response to this invitation does not need to be perfect or exact. However, the challenge is to open our hearts and minds towards this invitation, so that God’s love might be born within our hearts. Then our waiting for his arrival on this Christmas will be much more meaningful.
During the season of Advent, most of our attention is focused, quite rightly, on the story of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph and we read more stories about Christmas and share with others, especially with our children. It is a good custom to continue, so that they will be well fed with the holy season and celebration of the Christmas. Here are the five ways to celebrate Advent with your family this Christmas season:

1. Start a family devotion that celebrates the real meaning of Christmas
2. Choose Bible stories related to Christ’s birth or a good book to read with your family
3. Turn off your busy schedule just for one evening and spend time with your loved ones
4. Let your family make a list of broken/unresolved issues that they can think of, and spend time praying over them together  to Baby Jesus that He will solve them all
5. Put together a family activity centered on Christmas theme.

I remember my childhood when the December first came, we hang lighted star in front of our home (every home does the same in India no matter what religion they belong to), which marks the season of Christmas. We have our spiritual preparation in the family by saying the rosary together, going to church together everyday for the mass, and do abstinence and fasting for twenty five days. It was a joyful time for all of us as we were growing up thinking of the different activities in the church, Christmas carols, and the gift we are going to receive.

May it be the same for you, may you have a lot of joy during this season of Christmas.