"St. John the Baptist is the Lord’s immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way. 'Prophet of the Most High', John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last. He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being 'the friend of the bridegroom', whom he points out as 'the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world'. Going before Jesus 'in the spirit and power of Elijah', John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.
When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating the precursor’s birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: 'He must increase, but I must decrease."(CCC523-524)
We are halfway there. If you look at my nifty little widget to the right you will see that there is, indeed, only six months until we are blessed to celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord.
Now is the time to bring out your Christmas notebooks and start planning. You do not want to be one of those nutty people in the craft store on December 13th trying to figure out a way to make everything beautiful NOW. I've been that nutty person and I'm telling you it's not fun.
Here is what you can be deciding now:
- Budget. Set a budget now and start saving or planning for that budget. Include gifts, decorations, food, holiday celebrations, gift wrap, donations, travel expenses, and clothing.
- Handmade Holidays. If you are a knitter, sewer, woodworker, jewelry maker...now would be the time to start making Christmas gifts. This week make a point to plan who you would like to make gifts for and start getting your materials together. If you start now you might be able to finish off your list before Advent and give yourself a more relaxed season.
- Travel. If you are going any great distance now might be the time to check out fares and rates that can save you lots of money. Gas prices won't be going down so it might be cheaper to book your air, train or bus ticket now.
- Outlets. Many websites have outlet sections that allow you to buy out of season clothes at great discounts. One of my favorites is Lands End . Out of season clothes now are winter clothes so you might be able to pick up some nice things as gifts.
So there is quite a bit you can be doing now to plan and create a lovely Advent season for yourselves. Over the summer the elves here at O Night Divine will be working feverishly to update the site and start helping everyone celebrate this, most beautiful of feasts with joy.
Have a wonderful summer