First Sunday of Advent - 1st December
I rejoiced that they said to me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord.'
At last our feet are standing at your gates, Jerusalem!
Jerusalem, built as a city, in one united whole,
there the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, a sign for Israel to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
For there are set the thrones of judgement, the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, prosperity for your homes!
Peace within your walls, prosperity in your palaces!
For love of my brothers and my friends I will say, 'Peace upon you!'
For love of the house of the Lord our God I will pray for your well-being.
“Advent is a period of devout and expectant delight.” It is a season of waiting, of preparation. To prepare, we must keep in our minds what it is we are preparing ourselves for. I chose this reading for the start of Advent for two reasons. The first is the beginning of the reading: I rejoiced. Pope Benedict XVI said “Joy is the true gift of Christmas” As we prepare ourselves for Christmas, that joy is what we are preparing ourselves for. The second reason I chose this reading is the prayerfulness of it. Pray, I will pray. Although we have that joy in our hearts, Advent is not yet our time of celebration. The preparation we do in Advent is not the sort that is usually associate with Christmas - buying presents, putting up decorations, sending out cards. It is a spiritual preparation, so naturally prayer forms a central part of that. Those two things, joy and prayer, put us in the right frame of mind to fruitfully prepare for the Christmas season.
Advent Advantage: Include more time for prayer in your day, even if you can only spare a few minutes give them to prayer. If you can, pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary today.