Advent Preparation in the midst of a Pandemic? Are you Crazy!?!

Come to realize – through prayerful reflection – how this year’s COVID -19 struggles and challenges has functioned like a year long ADVENT season, preparing you to receive Jesus in some way this coming year…

After almost a year of grappling with this COVID 19 pandemic, many of even the most hardcore, devotional and conservative Catholics have been liturgically broken down – in their liturgical regularity of attending Mass, etc..  After a year like 2020, can you blame them?

Now weary and worn out from quarantining, yet seemingly still forced onward in this global ‘pandemic death march,’ many Catholics today are finding themselves simply too tired and weary to even give simple lip service to ‘ADVENT.’

Advent!? Really? With all that’s been going on, you think I’m gonna even play like I’m gonna try to ‘prayerfully enter into the Advent season’ this year???  Once again, really?  Can you blame anyone for simply, being human?

In ‘normal’ times perhaps ‘doing Advent’ seems and feels like the right thing to do at this time of year, in order to prepare our hearts to receive Jesus in some new way … But this year not only feels and seems different, it actually is – VERY DIFFERENT!!!

We, the so called civilians of the world, have found ourselves on the daily, front line battle for life and death! 2020 came in quietly and in a sneaky way, secretly drafted the whole world into an unknown war with a viral enemy…

Since February, the whole world has been frantically fighting to literally stay alive – that is, to not die from a COVID-19 infection… We also been struggling to stay economically afloat… And also to address our non COVID-19 medical and family issues, etc..  And please, do not even mention, the ongoing struggle here in America to stay politically and democratically afloat as religiously conservative bigots and racists, empowered after four years of Trump’s hatred and evil, tried to steal an election and dismantle our democracy…

 

Because these are not normal times and 2020 was nothing even close to being a ‘normal’ year, I am asking all of those traditional and conservative Catholics – who may be worrying about or missing their regular and traditional Advent preparations – to reflectively think back over the year and to PRAYERFULLY answer this question for yourself…

“How has God prepared me to receive Jesus in some NEW way this coming year?”

Please, sit with this question awhile….   I doubt that after a year like THIS, you need any more preparation!

Prayerfully examine how God has challenged and changed you in this last year…

Take a moment to briefly list and write down on paper the ways you are NOW very different than the pre-pandemic person you were last Christmas…

What is it that you most want now in life?

Come to realize – through prayerful reflection – how this year’s COVID -19 struggles and challenges has functioned like a year long ADVENT season, preparing you to receive Jesus in some way this coming year…

Now, sit and briefly jot down or briefly make some notes about what FORM you really want to meet Jesus in this coming year…  The FORM you are hoping for this year’s Chrtistmas gift from God to materialize in…

Is it a a new job? An end to and old and beginning of a new relationship? A vocational move or a geographical move to a new city?

Prayerfully find what THAT is for you and ask God to, “Make it so, if it is His will” this coming year.  After a crazy year like 2020, REMEMBER – our Advent work and preparation is already done! 

 We simply need to prayerfully AND faithfully 1) name and then to 2) ask for THAT gift that God has been preparing us to receive in this coming year…

Have a Merry Christmas!!!

 

 

 

 

Author: P. J. West, Jr.

Paul J. West Jr. is a cradle Catholic and native Chicagoan who has ministered in Catholic Schools, parishes and hospitals for over two decades. His current ministries are focused on both hospital chaplaincy and writing. Prior to this, he ministered as an educator for almost twenty five years teaching religion, scripture, philosophy and ethics at four Chicago area high schools and adults at the Chicago Catholic Scripture School. His parish ministry has included preaching, teaching, writing and serving as a Eucharistic minister. Mr. West, who is native south sider, has been married for almost 30 years to Dr. Joy West. They have raised four beautiful daughters who are all hardcore Bears and White Sox fans!!!!

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