Loading...
Loading...
Click here if you don’t see subscription options
James Martin, S.J.December 02, 2019
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

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!

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.

City and state/province, or if outside Canada or the U.S., city and country. 
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.
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

The latest from america

I am always going to be let down by humans, but never by the One who is fully human and fully divine.
Joe Hoover, S.J.June 13, 2024
Sea-Watch crew members help a migrant boarding a rescue boat in the Mediterranean Sea on July 23, 2022. African bishops are expressing pain at seeing young people migrate to lives of uncertainty. (CNS photo/Nora Bording, Sea-Watch handout via Reuters)
Both the United States and the European Union are experiencing a period when double-digit percentages of foreign-born people have been able to achieve legal residency.
Kevin ClarkeJune 13, 2024
The Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity released a study document on the role of the bishop of Rome and how that role is viewed by other Christian churches.
Gerard O’ConnellJune 13, 2024
Pope Francis is scheduled to sit down with U.S. President Joe Biden and eight other heads of state in a series of private bilateral meetings during the Group of Seven on Friday, June 14.