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December 19, 2019

What does your Advent checklist look like?

Christmas Eve (December 24) marks the end of the season of Advent. Here are five things to consider when reflecting whether your Advent has been a fruitful one!

As Christians, sometimes in the busyness of our lives we become so caught up that we lose track of the season that the Church is celebrating and its significance in the development and growth of our faith and relationship with God. This is especially true for the Advent season since Christmas has become so commercialised and culturally, our society becomes preoccupied with the brunches, luncheons, dinners, staff parties, gift exchanges and even the housework. Because of this, some of us might be behind in our Advent journey. If you are one such person, like me, it’s not too late to start.
I want to offer you five (5) ways to you can still try to experience a fruitful advent!
1. Reflection
We know that Advent is a season of preparation for Jesus’ entry into history, but where do we want Him to come into? What area(s) of our life do we require His love, grace or mercy?
Perhaps, you may need the grace to forgive some deep-seated hurt and pain caused by a loved one, or you might be struggling to forgive yourself for something you did that betrayed your core values. It may be you just really need to find the grace to be disciplined in managing your lifestyle as it relates to your diet and/ or exercise routine.
Take some quiet time to reflect on these areas and be honest with yourself because Advent is not only about Jesus coming to the faithful, but it is also a personal and intimate journey between you and God. Do it for yourself!

Jodel Lutchman reflects on the four themes of Advent at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Port of Spain

2. Prayer
You have already thought about the areas in which you need His help, now actively invite Him into those spaces. This conscious effort to pray does not require hours of prayer, but rather quality and sincere prayer. Add just ten minutes more to your usual prayer routine if you already have one. Also, take maybe thirty (30) minutes and spend it before the Lord at Eucharistic Adoration and offer up your prayers here – see Him standing before you and welcome Him into those areas identified previously.

3. Silence
Silence can be deafening, yes, but it can also be lifegiving. As my third suggestion, I encourage you to take time out from the busyness of the season to be still and actively listen to God. Oprah said that “the universe is constantly talking to us,” but I want to say that God is always talking to us. Honestly, can we really hear and understand all that someone is saying to us while we are involved in an intense conversation on WhatsApp? If we are honest about it, we can admit that one of these suffers, if not both. Christian Meditation is a style of prayer that can help us to listen to God. Take twenty (20) minutes out of your week for each of the remaining weeks of the season and spend it doing Christian Meditation so that you can become conscious of God’s message to you.

4. Prayerful busyness
Sounds bizarre, yeah? What I mean is this – clean the house, yes, but while cleaning, think of the interior of your life and make a prayer of it in such a way that you are working on this aspect of the house, and so will Jesus help you in this facet of your life. Think of the untidy rooms, the dusty cupboards, or the new room you’re creating and think of Jesus helping you work on that forgiveness, or discipline to maintain your diet and exercise, or whatever you reflected on in the first suggestion.

5. Charity
In the previous suggestion, I specifically invited you to clean your own home. If you have a housekeeper, clean your own home this year and still give the housekeeper the money. Spend some time at a home for the aged because loneliness is the worst disease of them all, and you should make an effort to find that time. Share your energy and time with those who might be neglected or forgotten.
I wish you a blessed and fruitful Advent, and my prayer is that you will experience an abundance of God’s hope, joy, peace and love.
– By Jodel Lutchman

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