Advent is my favorite liturgical season. I become extremely excited when Advent is coming, and love observing it by wearing my purple “Advent scarves,” painting my nails to mirror the Advent wreath, and putting up my La Posada statue in my room. Unfortunately, during my first year of college Advent passed me by before I had a chance to fully embrace it. Knowing that my soul benefits a great deal from this penitential season of joyful waiting on Christ, I was determined to find a way to observe Advent, even though my home and seasonal accessories are miles away. Thanks to the internet and God’s guiding hand, I’ve found three ways to immerse myself in the season. I wanted to share them so that others who are seeking to supplement their Advent observation can benefit from them as much as I have.
- Fr. Barron’s Advent Reflections, via e-mail: Anything Fr. Barron does is always worth looking into, including these daily e-mail reflections sent straight to one’s inbox early every morning. They’re short, simple, but powerful and provide beautiful thoughts to keep one in the Advent mindset throughout the day.
- EWTN’s Advent Homepage: Each day has its own fragment from the Mass readings, a reflection, a little “Advent Action”, and a small prayer at the end. Once again, these are short and could be read in less than five minutes, but paired with Fr. Barron’s reflection the two help frame an outline for refocusing one’s spiritual life more fully in the spirit of the season. And the little “Advent Action,” even if the specific one is something not practical in one’s own circumstances, really helps keep the spirit of reaching out to others in the name of Christ at the front of the mind throughout the day.
- Advent Music through Grooveshark: Advent music is so beautiful, and it’s taken me a couple years to find enough to start a playlist out of. Music is such a perfect way to center the mind and heart by truly opening oneself to deeper, spiritual emotions. I like to listen to it in the background as I journal about the above two reflections, or sit still and meditate on it quietly as a prayer before bed. Here’s my playlist, I would love more suggestions!
- “People Look East” –Hereford Cathedral Choir (Holiday)
- “The King Shall Come” – from the album Christmas Choirs and Carols, Vol. 1
- “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent” – The Master’s Chorale
- “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus”- Salisbury Cathedral Choristers
- “On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry”- Grace Cathedral Choir
- “Creator of the Stars of Night”- High Street Hymns
- “Star of Wonder”- Sara Groves
- “Winter Snow”- Audrey Assad
- “O Sanctissima”- from the album The Wonder of Christmas
- “Still, Still, Still”- John Schmidt
- “Gabriel’s Message”- Sting
- “Ave Maria”- Jewel
- And Winter Came… – the album by Enya
- Advent at Ephesus- the album by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles
How do you keep the Advent season?