Amidst the busy-ness of the season, remind yourself of the true meaning of Christmas CNS photo

Focusing on CHRISTmas

By  Emma Hunter, Youth Speak News
  • December 18, 2015

Now that exams are coming to an end and Christmas break is beginning, there’s more free time to rest and make the most of the season.

It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of this time of the year that we forget that Advent is really about preparing our hearts for the coming of Jesus. We have to go beyond the secular and commercial hype of the holidays and really internalize this sacred and solemn time of waiting in hope.

Here are some suggestions to help you have a Christ-filled Christmas.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve had LifeTeen’s Advent Playlist on repeat since the beginning of December. These aren’t Christmas songs. They are more like Advent songs — about the period of waiting, anticipating and preparing for Christ’s arrival.

Once you press play, you won’t be able to stop listening. I shared this playlist with some friends and now we’re all hooked. My personal favourite song from this list is “The Earth Stood Still” by Future of Forestry. I think this playlist is a way to enter into and reflect on the liturgical season of Advent more deeply.

LifeTeen’s blog has some wonderful reflections about the meaning of Advent and is a good read especially at the end of the Advent season.

ChurchPOP is a good web site to check out when you need a break from studying. It has fun quizzes, interesting pop culture articles and covers what Pope Francis has been up to lately.

There are also many posts here, including an article on what Advent is really about and a list of 18 Advent crafts that you can do. The articles are short and accessible, and I always learn something new on this site.

I especially like the quiz section because who doesn’t want to know what Church era they belong in? (I got the Apostolic Era!)

Breaking out the pencil crayons isn’t just for kids any more. Adult colouring books are very popular these days.

There are tons of sites online that have pages you can print out to make your own colouring book. My favourite comes from a WordPress blog called Become What You Are. All of the images have a Christmas or Advent theme and many of the pages also include Scripture passages from the Nativity story.

It’s a fun way to relax while still focusing on the meaning of Advent. It’s also a cheap but beautiful way to decorate your space with Christmas cheer.

Dynamic Catholic’s Best Advent Ever video series is a great way to reflect on the Jubilee Year of Mercy while also preparing spiritually for Christ’s coming. I really like these video reflections because they are concise, engaging and inspirational.

Each clip is only a few minutes long and it’s filled with lots of thoughtful reflections on the theme of mercy. Catholic speakers like Matthew Kelly, Fr. Mike Schmitz and Sarah Swafford share reflections on the spiritual and corporal works of mercy and how they can be applied to our lives.

Even if you haven’t been following this video series since the start of Advent, all of the reflections are on the web site. There’s no reason why you can’t take a break from your Netflix binge-watching and check out these videos.

These are just a few web sites that can help you stay centred on the true meaning of Advent. We often wish that Christmas would hurry up, but this liturgical season is a gift from the Church where we wait with hopeful anticipation for the coming of our King. Have fun and have a blessed Christmas season.

(Hunter, 24, is a graduate student at Queen’s University where she studies Early Modern European and Canadian history.)

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