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Tuesday, December 2, 2003

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Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalm 72
Luke 10:21-24

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learning from advent and christmas failures

"The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord, and His delight shall be the fear of the Lord." —Isaiah 11:2-3

When the Church began to celebrate Christ's birth, it noticed that many people did not meet Christ at Christmas. They continued to sin, were trapped in the ways of the world, and had only a superficial faith. Then the Holy Spirit directed the Church to prepare spiritually for Christmas from December 17-24, the eight days before Christmas. This was a significant improvement. More people encountered Jesus and deepened their faith. Nevertheless, large numbers of Christians remained lukewarm in their faith, thus being a hindrance to those who would come to Christ. Once again, the Holy Spirit guided the Church by calling it to lengthen Advent to a span of three to four weeks. This worked much better. Conversions abounded, and evangelization was zealous.

As Lord Acton said, those who don't know history are condemned to repeat the mistakes of their forebears. Centuries ago, people tried to get by without Advent — only to deprive themselves of a real Christmas encounter with Christ. Even a short Advent often proved a failure. History tells us we need every minute of Advent. The true meanings of Christmas are so great that it is a miracle to prepare for it in only three or four weeks. We must not waste even one precious moment of Advent. Have a full and holy Advent leading to a Christmas intimacy with Christ beyond anything we can think of or imagine (see Eph 3:20).

Prayer:  Father, send the Holy Spirit, the only true Christmas Spirit, to guide me in every detail this Advent.

Promise:  "Blest are the eyes that see what you see. I tell you, many prophets and kings wished to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it." —Lk 10:23-24

Praise:  Members of a vibrant youth group all make spiritual resolutions during Advent to grow in their faith and love.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert A. Stricker, June 23, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2003