If you read anything this Advent, read this inspirational quote from St. John of the Cross.
Much is always said about the “spirit of Christmas,” especially in nearly ever Christmas movie ever made! In general this refers to a “spirit of giving,” as well as hope, and sometimes charity.
The quest to find the true spirit of Christmas is always in stark contrast with the consumer culture that has taken over the holiday, turning it into a season of “getting,” instead of a season of “giving.”
St. John of the Cross understood the spiritual life in such a profound way that he was able to summarize the true “spirit” of this time of year (as well as the Christian life in general) in the following quotation.
In the twilight of life, God will not judge us on our earthly possessions and human successes, but on how well we have loved.
This meditation is most fitting, as Advent is often connected to “twilight” and “evening,” because during this season the Northern Hemisphere is shrouded in the darkness of night. Furthermore, the evening is symbolic of our own final days on this earth, before we enter the “light” of eternal life.
All of this together means that during Advent (as well as all year long) we need to realize that it love and charity is what truly matters and not how many material presents we receive on Christmas.
St. John of the Cross was a big proponent of emptying ourselves of all earthly attachments in order to achieve a greater union with God.
In the end, all of this will pass away and all that will remain are the good deeds that we practiced during life.
Meditate frequently during Advent on this quote from St. Paul
Better than fasting: Spiritual advice from a mystic, a poet, a doctor, and a saint