Advent is almost here! Your Advent wreath has been unearthed from storage, with fresh tapers standing tall, ready for the first chorus of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” on a brisk December night. Christmas shopping is almost wrapped up, and you’re looking forward to really reflecting on the meaning of the season as the universal Church prepares for the coming of Christ.
No? Your Advent wreath is still in the bottom of a box of nutcrackers and garlands, probably with last years’ candles dangling at odd angles where the toddler pulled it off the table? Your Christmas list is still a twinkle in St. Nick’s eye, and you can’t believe Thanksgiving has already blown past you?
Not to worry—you can still have a spiritually fulfilling, faithful Advent! Take an evening off from the Christmas bustle to fill up on grace in the sacrament of Penance, swing past the gift shop to restock on candles (and maybe an Advent calendar to hang on the fridge), and check out the list below to find an Advent devotional to help you refocus and find the meaning in the midst of the holiday madness.
1. This interactive Advent calendar from the USCCB has a link to a short reading, reflection, prayer and action behind each door. Doors are numbered to match the calendar date, and include feast days of saints, blessings for Advent wreaths and Christmas trees, and other great resources.
2. Dynamic Catholic’s mission is to re-energize the Catholic Church in America. When you sign up for their daily emails, you’ll get a short inspirational video in your inbox each day to help you slow down and really live the Advent season. What would it take for you to have the best Christmas of your life? Find out with the “Best Advent Ever”!
3. Blessed Is She is an online community of women working to foster community through daily devotional emails that include a link to the daily Mass readings and a reflection written by women from all walks of life: single, married, mamas, and grandmas. In addition to the free email devotions, Blessed Is She also offers the Bearing Light Advent Devotional: part devotional, part journal, taking women deeper into the Advent season through Mary’s Magnificat. Sign up for free daily devotions in your email, or order a copy of Bearing Light.
4. The New eMANgelization has one goal: to draw Catholic men to Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church. Using a daily blog, it presents the daily Gospel reading, a short explanation of the Scripture, and then challenges men to be heroic Catholic men in three different ways. Each post also includes spiritual practices for the day, such as the mysteries of the rosaries and devotion for
each day, a virtue to pray for, and reminders of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
5. Life Teen’s focus is on Youth Ministry, but they have great resources for teens and up! This year they are excited to present Messiah: Stories of Advent. Messiah can be used in groups, families, or even individually, and is perfect for anyone who wants to welcome Jesus into their hearts as they prepare for Christmas. Written from four unique perspectives, Messiah is a bargain at just five crummy bucks! Order your copy here.
6. Email inbox already at 99+ notifications and you just can’t handle that daily devotional? Check out Busted Halo’s #DailyJolt: quick one-line quotes leading us to focus on a virtue such as gratitude, honor, or forgiveness, followed by a “microchallenge” that takes just a few seconds to complete.
7. If you haven’t checked out FORMED.org yet, you’re missing out! FORMED is an online platform that provides access to all type of Catholic media, from books and movies to audio dramas and Scripture studies. Sign up for their Advent inspirations and get a short video in your email each day. This year there is also an option to add a kid’s video as well. What a great way to get the whole family excited about the coming of Christ! Our Lady of Hope is thrilled to provide a free subscription to parishioners—just create a login using our parish link.