It’s Advent. Time of preparation for the best Christmas we’ve ever had. Instead of celebrating Christmas in advance, we celebrate Advent in order that we can celebrate Christmas—properly, for 12 days straight.
In Advent we anticipate–we “wait in joyful hope the coming of the Lord”. Ad ventus: to come.
When He humbled Himself to come among us as a human being,
He fulfilled the plan you formed long ago
and opened for us the way to salvation.
Now we watch for the day,
hoping that the salvation promised us
will be ours when Christ our Lord will come again in His glory.
– Preface of Advent I
The first part of Advent (First Sunday of Advent til Dec. 17) has an emphasis on the Second Coming of the Lord who became flesh and dwelt among us in His First. Past—His coming as a little Child, Present—His coming into our souls through grace and especially in the Eucharist, Future—His coming again in glory as our Judge, all seem to converge during the first stage of Advent.
When He comes I best be prepared…
The Feast of Christ the King echoes into Advent. We hear St. John the Baptist announce the King: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
Jesus desires to reign in every heart—starting with your heart and in mine. “The kingdom of Jesus Christ consists principally in the heart or the interior of man – according to the words, ‘The Kingdom of God is within you'” (St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary #38).
Just today I noticed these words on a picture of the Christ Child: “Yo reinare”—“I shall reign”.
Advent is about preparing to welcome Jesus Christ into our hearts! The Catechism of the Council of Trent mentions the duty of spiritual nativity:
We must also take care lest to our great injury it should happen that just as there was no room for Him in the inn at Bethlehem, in which to be born, so likewise now, after He has been born in the flesh, He should find no room in our hearts in which to be born spiritually.
– Article III
It makes perfect sense to live in the company of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the means of Our Lord’s first Advent. God’s word dwelt her heart and His Word dwelt in her womb. Recourse to Our Lady is essential for our preparation. As we read the rich Scripture readings during Advent we can ask for her assistance in “pondering them in our hearts” as she did. St. Louis de Montfort recommends a practice of receiving Holy Communion with her heart:
Implore Mary to lend you her heart so that you may receive her Son with her dispositions. Tell her that if she will take up her abode in you to receive her Son – which she can do because of the sovereignty she has over all hearts – he will be received by her in a perfect manner…
Jesus, whose love for her is unique, still wishes to take his delight and his repose in her even in your soul, even though it is poorer and less clean than the stable which he readily entered because she was there. Beg her to lend you her heart, saying, “O Mary, I take you for my all; give me your heart.”
– True Devotion to Mary #266
My heart is poorer than the stable. I need all the help I can get! Advent is a “most wonderful time of the year” and with Our Lady, our Advent companion, Christmas will that much better!