Anyone who has been near a shopping centre since the beginning of October would know that Christmas is on the way. There has been trees and decorations, wrapping paper and gift suggestions, as well as carols and lights. In addition to this, a cursory glance at a social media feed often reveals how many days are left, more often than not as a reminder to get to the shops and spend big.
Yet surely there is something more, for preparations for Christmas are not just about food, presents and decorations. Surely we cannot really be prepared for Christmas unless we also prepare ourselves spiritually. The birth of Jesus is a profound gift, and in her wisdom, the Church gives us the season of Advent to prepare to receive this gift in a greater way than ever before.
So, reflecting on the scripture below from Isaiah, here are 5 questions you might like to ask yourself as a way of preparing your heart.
For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
- Are my hands too full, or is my life too busy to receive a gift? What might I need go let go of in order to receive the gift of the Son that is on offer to me?
- When was the last time I sought the wisdom of God as my wonderful counsellor? Is here an invitation for me to really seek him in my decisions? One way to do this may be to start praying the Examen.
- When or where have I experienced God as Mighty God? How has this encouraged me to deepen in the belief that he is present with me in all situations?
- What is my image of the Everlasting Father? Are there ways that I am challenged to let go of any images which may be false?
- What situations, relationships or events in my life causes the most unrest at present, and how can I invite the Prince of Peace to penetrate it?