When you got into Church last Sunday, you may have noticed something a little different in the sanctuary — the presence of the Advent wreath… as if your church didn’t have enough candles up on that altar, am I right?

Well actually, these candles are here to signify our eager expectation and hope that progresses as we near the great event of the birth of our Savior, the Incarnation, in the celebration of Christmas. So… besides there being more flames present at Mass, what else changes during the Advent season? Well, I’m here to provide you with a few Advent life hacks, to help you enter a bit more fully into this liturgical season:

1. Get crafty and make, or purchase a beautiful Advent wreath to enter into the season in a real way — BUT but don’t use the added flame factor of this season as an excuse to become a pyromaniac or try out any new fire-based magic tricks on your family as you light your home Advent wreath. This is a season of expectant joy, not of fear!

2. Tune into some lovely Advent jamz and hold off on the Christmas hits until the Christmas season… well at least try your best. You can only listen to “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” so many times until you need a little “Joy to the World” in your life.

3. If people say “happy holidays” to you while you’re shopping for Christmas gifts, don’t get in a high and mighty rage and demand that they say “merry Christmas” to you… just remember that Christ dwells in every human being, that they are worthy of love, and smile and say “thank you.”

4. Spend a little bit more time in prayer, preparing your heart for the coming of Christ… and preparing your mind for the many Hallmark Christmas movies you’ll have no choice but to watch.

5. Bake something sweet for a friend. Or a foe.

6. Stop thinking about what’s on your Christmas list for a minute and try being Santa Claus to someone in need.

7. Learn from my mistakes and don’t forget about eating the daily dose of chocolate from the Advent calendar. Catching up may be delicious, but it also generates a wicked stomach ache.

8. Pick up some helpful Advent reading. Maybe Awaken Hope, or another daily devotional to help you enter into the season!

9. Try walking around with an attitude of gratitude, even while department stores and online marketplaces try to cultivate an attitude of greed… nobody likes a Scrooge.

10. Speaking of Scrooges… just don’t do this:

11. Most importantly, don’t skip over this season of eager expectation and hopeful waiting. Remember the gift of Christ’s Incarnation that we’re awaiting, and let yourself enter into that waiting. Embrace this season the way Buddy the Elf embraces the Christmas tree, in an effort to get the star on top.

About the Author

Leah Murphy

As a graduate of John Paul the Great Catholic University, with a background in video and a passion for that wild place where faith and culture meet, she lives to tell God's love story to the world, in the digital space. Dwelling in California, she spends all her free time doing all the things with her friends, enjoying the best music out there, and going on every adventure that comes her way.

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