The season of Advent is similar to Lent, a penitential time when we can make resolutions to live closer to Christ.
Just one verse each day.
Many Catholics are familiar with making Lenten resolutions, including various sacrifices and commitments to increase spiritual activity.
Often this might include giving up chocolate for Lent, or engaging in almsgiving during the penitential season.
Advent is also meant to be a season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. While Catholics are not often encouraged to make resolutions during Advent, the liturgical season is meant to be a time to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus at Christmas.
As an example, beginning in the 8th century Eastern Christians doubled down on their preparations for Christmas. They firmly believed in the ancient maxim, “fast before you feast,” and followed Christ’s example of fasting for 40 days in the desert before he began his public ministry. To properly prepare for the glorious celebration of Christmas on December 25, they fasted for 40 days, beginning November 15 and ending on Christmas Eve.
While the Nativity Fast was not as rigorous as the Lenten Fast, it still reiterated the point that Advent was designed as a pentiential season.
The modern celebration of Christmas in the Western world is probably one of the biggest hurdles to observing Advent in this way, as our friends and family members dig into Christmas cookies and invite us to Christmas parties.
While celebrating Christmas during Advent isn’t a sinful action, it does make it more difficult to quiet our souls to prepare spiritually for Christ’s birth.
Whatever you do during Advent, consider making a small Advent resolution that will draw you in to a closer relationship with the Christ Child.