Am I ready? Have I bought everything that I need? Have I wrapped the presents? Have I made all of my social plans? These are the questions that can easily fill our minds during the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. It can be quite easy to get caught up in the materialistic side of Christmas and put all of your focus and attention on the “things” of Christmas rather than on the “what” and “who” of Christmas.
Our Saviour was born to a humble virgin in a stable and was laid in a manger. It could have been a cold and dreary time for the Holy Family as they spent their early days in the stable, however Christ was surrounded by the love and wonder of people who sought Him out, welcomed Him, and showed that they loved and respected Him through their actions. We too are called to welcome Jesus into our hearts and to prepare ourselves for His coming. A quote that has stood out to me about Christmas and the purpose for why we as Catholics prepare our hearts comes from St. Teresa of Calcutta. It says:
We desire to be able to welcome Jesus at Christmas-time, not in a cold manger of our heart, but in a heart full of love and humility, in a heart so pure, so immaculate, so warm with love for one another.
What have you been doing this Advent to prepare your heart for Christ? Are you showing kindness to others? Are you preparing your heart through prayer? Have you gone for your Advent Confession? Are you giving your time to help serve Christmas dinner at a shelter? Are you buying a gift for a child at Toy Mountain or for a senior in a nursing home? Are you spending time with your friends and family that is free from technology so you can focus on building your relationships? What can you do to prepare your heart to ensure that Christ is coming into a warm heart of love and not a cold heart like a manger.
In true Challenge fashion, I have a Challenge for you this Christmas. I challenge you to reach out to others and show them love in whatever way you feel most comfortable in order to prepare your heart to welcome Christ this Christmas. Be one of those people who surround Christ with love and respect for others and welcome him in to your warm and loving heart!