As a child, I loved our advent tree at home. Dad or Mum would break a branch from our garden and take off all the leaves and put it in an earthen pot. Through the entire season, we would write our sacrifices on coloured paper and fill up this barren branch with our leaves of sacrifices. It was so exciting and possibly the only time during the entire year that we four siblings called a cease fire on most arguments and handling of chores. (Maybe that’s why mum and dad loved the tree of peace as much as we did😀).
One particular advent, I gave up all lollies and collected it in a box. It was a big sacrifice I tell you… but as advent progressed… I just loved giving up chocolate for Jesus. Come Christmas day, after mass, I cannot express the joy I felt, as a child, distributing these very same “sacrificed lollies” to the beggars outside our church. That Christmas day I know my heart was a perfect crib of LOVE for my baby Jesus to lay in❤️.
Every advent I pray that this advent may be my best advent ever🙏! But truth be told, this year, I allowed family matters to take over my life and my preparation for the birth of my Lord has left even me cold😔. But God in His infinite mercy gave me the opportunity to participate in a 3 days Marian retreat, where I was truly able to abandon myself to my Jesus. After a powerful teaching by Fr. Rojan George, VC – Vincentian Retreat Centre on un-confessed and un-repented sins, the Holy Spirit revealed so many unconfessed sins, that I made the best confession of my entire life… ✨and I began to reflect on the status of my heart…. 🤔
When Jesus needed a place to be born… all of Bethlehem were busy getting ready for the census and were quite unaware of the significance of the birth of Jesus and that there was no proper crib available. Like these townsfolk, am I too busy with material preparations and decorations and oblivious to the real meaning of Christmas😬?
Or, maybe I am like the 3 wise men who invested significant intellectual time in their pursuit of the star? At the mind level, I know how important Christmas is, but my attitude and my life has remain unchanged .. and my heart is anything but an inviting crib for my Lord🤦♀️!
Or, am I like the shepherds, who paused now and then from their shepherding to check out the Baby Jesus that the angels were talking about? Amidst my regular work and family chores, have I been occasionally praying, fasting, and going to church during advent?
Or, am I like Mary and Joseph who completely trusted that God was in control and obeyed and gave up life as they knew it? They invested everything to provide a crib of Love and Sacrifice for Baby Jesus to be born🤱!