This Advent, do less and pray more

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Subscribe to “The Examen” for free on Apple Podcasts
Subscribe to “The Examen” for free on Google Play
Join our Patreon Community

Advertisement

I’m not a big fan of Christmas. Well, maybe that’s not entirely accurate. Let me say that I’m not a big fan of all the commercialism and craziness that sometimes feels like it completely overtakes the celebration of Christ’s birth. Living in New York City and working right near Rockefeller Center, as I do, where the city’s immense Christmas tree stands during the holidays, means that Christmas to me sometimes means hordes of shoving, pushing, angry crowds. Not exactly something to induce merriment. 

That’s one of the many reasons that I pull back a little bit at Christmas: doing less, going out less, spending more time in prayer. It’s one way for me to focus on the spiritual meaning of the season. One thing that helps with that is, and I bet you’ve guessed this, the amazing series of daily readings that start during the Advent season. Especially from the Book of Isaiah, which we use for the First Reading. Just listen to this: “Thus says the Lord GOD: But a very little while, and Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard, and the orchard be regarded as a forest!” Isn’t that beautiful? You could spend a whole week in prayer just meditating on that image of God’s incredible work to move and change and grow things in your life. And on God’s desires to help all humanity to grow and flourish. So my suggestion as we move into Advent might be this: Do less, pray more and enjoy the season. Happy Advent!

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.

Advertisement

The latest from america

Pope Francis told a group of U.S. bishops their job is to step back from partisan politics and help their faithful discern based on values.
Catholic News ServiceJanuary 20, 2020
Sometimes what God wants to offer you isn’t some great insight or moving memory or heartfelt desire, but something simpler: a feeling of calm and peace.
James Martin, S.J.January 20, 2020
Pope Francis firmly condemned “every form of anti-Semitism” on the eve of the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 20, 2020
Pope Francis welcomes Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi to the Vatican Jan. 17, 2020. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
The Vatican revealed that the pope and president discussed “the good existing bilateral relations” between the Holy See and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and expressed “satisfaction” at the ratification of the framework agreement between the two countries on matters of mutual interest.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 17, 2020