Being a husband, a father of four school aged children, and a theology teacher to 70+ students can be challenging in the best of times. At a time like Advent it could downright drive one to drink. Christmas music has been playing for weeks, Black Friday has come and gone, Cyber Monday is upon us, and many a tree has been trimmed.
Society, school, and the media are telling us to buy things, to not forget that someone special, and that we’ll be happy if we get more things. Oh, and go ahead and spoil yourself while you’re at it. In listening to my parish priest’s homily this morning, I was reminded that Advent is a time for reflection/prayer, for looking forward to the coming of Christ not only in the celebration of Christmas but at the end of life, and for detaching from the rush of life.
As Catholics and Christians we are called to be counter cultural and there is no better time to do that then during Advent. We are asked to live and work in the world but not be of the world. How can we possibly live this out during this busy time of year? It takes some planning, dedication, and strength.
I will be sharing my personal plan with my ninth grade theology students and my grade 7/8 religion kiddos (see plan below). I will ask my students to begin some sort of Bible reflection (daily Bible reading, Advent reading, or even readings from an Advent calendar). Once you have found your source, set up your plan.
The keys to doing this are simple. 1. find 15 minutes each day for just this activity. If that means waking fifteen minutes earlier in the morning, then just do it. Set up what you will need for the morning the night before. 2. Find a place that is comfortable. 3. Find a holy object to hold onto or to look at that is calming. 4. Play Advent music in the background (this works best if it is just instrumental).
Whatever you do, put Christ in the center and reflect on what he has done for you and make a plan to be for him and with him at the end of time.
- Morning Prayer in the chapel – Liturgy of the Hours
- Advent Reflection in all theology/religion classes – Little Blue Book
- Reading – Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives (by Pope Benedict XVI)