Friday, December 14, 2012

10 Things To Do before Christmas

I can hear some of you right now: “Not another to-do list! My days are packed full as it is!” The to-do list I'm about to present is not designed to be “just one more thing” but rather to help you cope with the last few busy days before Christmas. 

The follow ten suggestions will encourage you to focus on what Christmas is all about...Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, born among us as a true human being Who is, at the same time, truly God. 

1. Read the Christmas story in Sacred Scripture (Luke 2:1-20 and Matthew 1:18 – 2:12). Don't just rush through these texts; read them slowly and meditatively, as if you've never read them before. Savor each word. When you've finished, read each passage once more in the same way. Then identify one aspect of story that especially strikes you, and spend at least five minutes reflecting on its meaning for your life. 

2. Pray the Rosary. If you don't have time to pray five full decades, pray just one, and really meditate on the mysteries. You might wish to focus on the Joyful Mysteries. 

3. Volunteer. Choose one event in your Church, school, or community, and set aside a few hours to help out. 

4. Spend some time with a good, spiritual book. Pope Benedict XVI's Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives would be an excellent choice. 

5. Pray the Stations of the Cross. This might seem out of place at Christmas time, but praying the Stations reminds us why Jesus was born...that He might die to save us from our sins and reunite us with our Heavenly Father. 

6. Sing a few Christmas carols, or listen to some Christmas music if you prefer not to sing. Music lifts the spirits and alleviates stress. 

7. Tell Jesus about your day. Take a few minutes and talk to our Lord as a friend. Let Him know all about the joys and trials you've been experiencing. 

8. Go to Eucharistic Adoration, even if it's only for fifteen minutes. 

9. Meditate on your Christmas tree. Yes, you did read that right. The colors, lights, and ornaments we use to decorate our Christmas trees are often symbolic. You might reflect, for example, on the blue lights on your tree, for blue is a color often associated with our Blessed Mother. Blue can also point to Jesus' divinity, for it is the color of the sky. There are endless possibilities if you open your mind and your heart and let the Holy Spirit lead you. 

10. Count your blessings. In this busy season, our focus is so often on “I want” and “I must”. For a little while, concentrate on “I have” and “I'm grateful.” 

May God bless you during these last few days before Christmas.

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